What does normal feel like again?

It always amazes me what the human mind can adjust to, and just accept as normal. Nothing big, just everyday humdrum stuff. As an example, there’s quite a sharp junction onto the M40 I use quite a lot where I could just about get my car round at 55mph, right on the cusp of breaking traction. I just thought it was a bit tricky, up until I changed my 20,000 mile old tyres for new ones. 55mph seemed pedestrian with that much new grip…

Another example would be my Grandma, who had bronchitis for as long as I can remember. Her doctor had given up trying to fix it, but then that doctor retired and a new guy gave her an inhaler. I remember going round to grandma’s and thinking “um, there’s something missing here, it’s… Umm. Wait… Ah! There’s no coughing anymore!” The sound of that house had instantly transformed, and I had never noticed before just how much my Grandma used to cough until she stopped coughing.

So anyway, I got a new front wheel for my bicycle. It would have been nice to get a matching chrome steel one but instead it’s an alloy, not really very fitting on the bike but it’s not a museum piece exactly and it was cheap enough. I briefly rode another bike and was immediately struck with how nice it is not to have kinked rims causing a judder every time I braked, and I’d noticed on a ride into town the other day that I’d developed a tendency to go easy on my fronts, quite deliberately using them sparingly, essentially just for the bigger stops.

So to hell with it, I needed a new wheel and they had one in stock. Getting the tyre on the new rim was once again a real struggle but I did resist the temptation to use anything other than my hands. I was a little nervous when having swapped the tyre over I noticed the axles had different diameters, but it slotted on to the fork just fine and after a little tinkering I had a little shakedown round the drive.

Hang on, there’s something wrong here. Something’s missing. This doesn’t feel like my bike at all. No wait, is this… Is this what normal feels like again?

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