MacGyver Saves the Day

MacGyver – (v) 1. To use ingenuity to fix or remedy a problem using only the tools available at hand. 2. To jury-rig.

We have a lot to thank Angus MacGyver for. This mild-mannered and mulleted TV action-adventure character showed us how to solve everyday problems with a combination of ingenuity and readily available materials. Like burning through an armoured door with nothing but handlebars and a flare, for example.

So great was the influence of MacGuyver that not only did he become a household name, he actually became a verb. Even Madonna can’t claim that distinction, although if she could, I suspect her verb would represent some skanky sexual act that would be illegal in most countries.

Sometimes it is necessary to MacGuyver something if you have a mechanical on the road, like using a five dollar bill to temporarily patch a flat, or using your sunscreen as lube to stop an annoying squeak. Mechanicals are rare when you’re training inside, but as I found out today, they can happen.

This morning I packed up all my gear for a group workout at Esther and Gyula’s place. Once there, I got myself all set up but wasn’t able to snug the tension on my trainer stand. On a trainer there is a roller that presses up against the back wheel to create resistance. On my crappy old trainer, the position of the roller is controlled by a bolt, which, as I discovered this morning, is completely stripped. No bolt threads, no tension. No tension, no workout. No workout, one very crabby Cycle Chick.

Thankfully, Gyula holds an engineering degree. His initial diagnosis was that it was “broken” (he used the carnal translation). However, on further inspection, he determined it may be only “partially “broken”. He bolted (no pun intended) down to the basement and came back with a stick of wood, which he used as a spacer, allowing the non-stripped areas of the bolt to catch.

This was genius in its simplicity, but unfortunately the piece of wood was too thick and my rear axle wouldn’t align with the trainer clamps. We deduced that something thinner than the piece of wood was needed and Gyula once again bounded down the stairs, emerging moments later with a wood file.

While not the most elegant solution in terms of aesthetics, it was fast, worked like a charm and had additional advantage should I have been trapped behind a particularly sticky door. My workout was saved, definitely earning Gyula verb status in my books.

MacGyver himself would have been proud.