But all this makes me furious. It´s all a waste of resources, and we can´t afford to waste our resources any more. And my fury gave me a valuable insight, and you might laugh at me, and you are rightly doing so, for it is that simple.
I am a smith. Smiths have made this world. It was blacksmiths that made the first bicycles. Why the f*** do I think I cannot at least try to repair my frame?
So I started to think. The seattube cracked above the weld. The weld as a presumeably weak spot came out okay, and part of the tube was still attached. The aluminium used in the frame has a tensile strength of roundabout 370 N/mm². The epoxy glue I use for my knife handles has roundabout 180 N/mm² of tensile strength. If I fit in a tube with a hole for tension release and a clamp slot identical to the slot in the seat tube and use an expanding broach for reaming the inner diameter to fit a smaller-diameter seatpost, which by coincidence lay on my shelf doing nothing, that should do the trick... but where to get a tube? I almost laughed, the solution was that simple: From an old seat post I hacksawed off the clamp, which was broken anyway, drilled a tension release hole, sawed the slot and filed it to fit. Since I have no seat tube reamer I went to Dennis´shop. Felix, the mechanic was so kind as to do the job and making some more valuable suggestions-for free. Back home, I glued the tube in with epoxy and used glass fibre mat and epoxy to wrap the seat tube. I think I´ll add another layer, just for safety, then I´ll paint it black and it´ll be almost like new.
Another story was that he got some wooden skis for Chrismas one year... he built a ramp with his friends and broke off the tips of the skis the next day. So no skis. What to do? He simply cut some wood and built his own. They were not straight, and the tips sometimes got stuck in the snow, for he hadn´t been able to bend them properly, but they did the job, and he loved them. The next skis he bought himself in the 60´s.
What I want to say is, In "them days" people were not anxious about their material. They cared about it, of course, but it was not a matter of life and death, because they new they could come up with a solution. They did not think digitally, but looked astray from the beaten path for solutions. There were more answers than "1" or "0" or permutations thereof. You had friends and family and made do, even under circumstances that were not ideal. It was not the bike that made the man, but the man that made the bike (or the skis).
I have learned a lot by this mishap. I still would like it had rather not happened. But it had. My repair is certainly not state-of-the art, and might even fail some day soon, but it felt empowering to again get out into the woods by my own devices.
For I was in for one last surprise. And I have to apologize to a friend. In the last years I had the impression that Moritz was a bit superfluous and chance is, he actually is. He is a different sort of human being, at least compared to my own life, and that sometimes leads to misconceptions. Yeah, I enjoy talking to something less grave and just chatting away about bikes and girls and drink and whatnot, but since I often have to think very grave thoughts and have to carry a lot of responsibilities (all my fault, really), I did not think much of his reliability. What arrogance on my part! When he learned I was without a bike and he told some tall stories about how he would organize something I therefore did not think much of it.
When I returned from a cool ride with a good coffee at the trailhead café, and unlocked the door...
... there was a derailleur hanger for a 2011 Orange Crush sitting on my mat. It was put there by Moritz, who had managed to achieve the impossible. This gives him much credit as a bike mechanic (he works for Reuber bike shop in Dortmund), but more so as a human being.
I also want to acknowledge Henning, who is a smith with Ahlhauser Hammer and who offered me his own bike as a bailout spontaneously after reading about it on my blog. In general, the offers of help and the kind words I got from my friends and readers was overwhelming.
And this is what remains to be said in this post: Those are things that count.
It may sound a bit far-fetched, but: For most humans life is a shitty place these days. Some few foul up the lives of so many at the moment. Many people suffer, and are far worse off than just having a tiny crack in their bike frame. People are hopeless, homeless, depressed, disoriented and desperately seeking for values. There is a lot more to be fixed than just a bicycle frame. What one person can do just so much. And sometimes fixing a bike frame can help you understand bigger things.
And, as strange as it may seem, the simple things remain untouched. Friendship. Love. Trying your best and hoping for the best.
And as long as these things exist, there will always be hope. We can still make it work.
Thank you, my friends, for you have given me more than just repairing a bike.