It’s easy to imagine that being a mechanic is a perpetual cycle of polishing carbon and servicing buxom wenches’ bottom brackets, but the reality has more to do with packaging.
This falls into two categories. The first is the sexy kind: the kind you arrange in a pile to take a photo of for your three (3) blog readers and which you agonise about discarding when a build is completed. Opening this stuff is the secret joy of building bikes, your own or other people’s. A single build is two birthdays and a Christmas worth of ripped apart cardboard and shredded plastic, and there’s a shivering, guilty pleasure in being the first to fondle a new groupset or a frame that’s never been touched, at least never intimately.
The second kind of packaging is the bane of the shop rat’s life. It’s the fussy, messy mass of tape and plastic and corrugation that stands in the way of wheeling a bike onto the shop floor. The setup of a pre-built bike is fifty percent making sure the wheels allow motion and that the brakes impede it to the correct degree, and fifty percent tearing, hacking, peeling and flattening.
I love the first kind; the second makes me tired.
If all this is too highfalutin and tedious, here’s a video of Norway’s answer to Graham Norton inviting people to guess what the bulges in Thor Hushovd’s bibs are.