How to Fix a Bike…From a Girl Who Knows Sh*t About Bikes

So recently, I decided to get my video game addicted son a bike. I had a deep-rooted fear of him spending his life sitting in front of a computer, typing away, his breath labored from the effort it took to just sit there, as he pounded beers and ignored his skin turning slightly green from a mixture of jaundice and lack of sunlight.

In short, I was afraid he was going to turn into me.

Now we Alrocs, we don’t do sports. We don’t do nature. We are an indoor, tech dependent bred.

No joke, my plan for zombie apocalypse? Suicide. I have no desire to live in a world with no air conditioning or microwavable burritos.   That, and a Kirk Cameron ‘pray away the gay’ camp are two perfect settings for my own individual hell.

So yeah, I decided to get Logan a bike, in the hopes that he might actually enjoy it. But as I lack a large SUV and any knowledge of bikes at all, I did what I always do. I ordered the bitch online with the intention of putting it together myself.

Surprisingly I can be pretty handy when it comes to tools. It comes with being a chick who hates leaving the house. Seriously, I get Christmas cards from my pizza boy. So I order everything online, some assembly required to avoid those outdoor trips. I figured that building a bike would be just as easy as many of the stationary things I’ve built in the past.

Turns out, shit gets a lot more complicated when you add wheels.

But I’m a determined chick with too much time on my hands, so I got it done. Now, let me share my knowledge with you.

Step # 1.

That owner’s manual, the one that’s filled with words that sound like you need an advanced degree in bike technology to understand (what the fuck is a valve stem neck shaft?)? Yeah, rip that bitch in half. Use one side as a coaster, and the other to roll yourself a nice fat joint*. You’re going to want to be high for this.

Step #2.

Chances are, the manual gave you a listing of tools you’ll need. That’s crap. You only need two tools.

Tool 1: Fingers

Tool 2: One of them metal L things that came included with the bedframe you ordered off Amazon six months ago.

Step #3.

Assemble everything in a way that looks bike like and start screwing. Ignore the ameneties.

Adjustable seat? Fuck that. Ten speeds? Completely unnecessary. When I was a kid, adjustable seat meant that your dad just wrapped the seat in extra duct tape, and bikes only had two speeds. Stop and go.

Step #4.

Cover bike in the tarp from your barbeque and let sit for three months.

Bike riding in a flat state is way harder than I remember bike riding being when I grew up in the white mountains of New Hampshire. Then again, I don’t think I ever pedaled in New Hampshire. I just went to the top of the hill and coasted.

As a result, the bike I assembled remains in pristine condition, after being ridden once and walked home. Which leads me to the final step in my guide to bike assembly.

Step #5.

Buy a bus pass.




*Please note you should not smoke the joint if the manual came from a foreign country, as lax regulation virtually guarantees that manual is made of equal parts asbestos and lead.

My Life is a Yo-Yo Diet

I saw a picture of myself recently and I was surprised to see how much weight I had put on. I did all the self denial stuff we all do when we see a picture of ourselves looking chubby.

“I was just bloated.”

“The camera adds ten pounds”

“It was the way I was standing.”

I almost convinced myself all that was true, but then I stepped on the scale. Nope, verifiable fact that I have gained weight. While it’s not a ton, I generally like to cut these things off at the pass. You know, before I turn into one of those giant ladies who has to be cut out of her house so she can appear on a Doctor Phil episode about morbid obesity.

So it’s back to dieting. I love fad diets. I’ve tried everything in the interest of loosing weight quickly. You would be amazed at the things I have put in my mouth (and I’m not just talking Spring Break 2001). I’ve tried shakes, cotton balls, diet pills, diet bars and everything in between. The worst I have tried to date was “The Master Cleanse”

Who knew this was a recipe for a slow, painful death?

Who knew this was a recipe for a slow, painful death?

I made it one day. The day starts out by drinking 3 quarts of salt water. It ends with you laying on your bathroom floor, praying for a quick death.

Slim Fast was useless. It was only after the first day that I realized it was just a clever way to starve myself.

You know what I miss is Fen-Phen and Ephedra based diet pills. Now those fucking things got the job done! Swear to god, after I had my kid, I dropped like 80 pounds in a month. The hallucinations were pretty friggen sweet too. Who cares if I can’t use my left arm anymore?

Unfortunately, as I don’t have access to heart damaging stimulants, I will have to do this the old fashioned way.

Switch from beer to weed and start going to the gym.

You ever been on a treadmill stoned? It really is a mind altering experience. After a few minutes on the thing, you start philosophizing about how it’s really a metaphor for the way the world works. How we all think we’re constantly moving, but we never really get further than where we started. How everything, even time, is an illusion.


Before you know it, you’ve been on the thing for forty five minutes and you haven’t even broken a sweat. And then you go over to the Stairmaster, and you have the exact same thought, but you think it’s totally new, because you forgot what you were thinking about on the treadmill.

I lost about 20 pounds in two months just doing that. I’m patenting it as “Distracted Dieting – the Essa Alroc Guide to a Better You.” Weed not included.

I’ve been yo-yo dieting my entire life. I’ve gotten the lectures from doctors about how it’s dangerous to lose 20 pounds in a month, but I keep doing it. Healthy eating and regular exercise is boring.

My life is a series of binges.



Essa’s Adventures – A Trip to the Gym

I’ve noticed something in my 33 years on this planet. It’s probably going to seem like a bit of a stereotype, but I can’t help it if sometimes stereotypes hold true.

The more weight I gain, the darker the average skin color of the man who hits on me gets. After getting a wink from a midnight black Haitian man at the mailbox, it occurred to me that it was time to start hitting the gym again.

Luckily, my apartment complex comes with one. I pack my water bottle, iPod and gym key for the trip. It’s only as short walk from my apartment.


The gym is oddly packed this morning. It’s filled with slightly zaftig blond women and I wonder exactly how many women that Haitian man hit on the day before.

Wow, exercise equipment sure has changed since the last time I went to the gym…in the late 90’s. I look around desperately for a Stairmaster. It is the only piece of equipment that I am 100% certain how to use. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. I heave out a sigh and head over to the elliptical trainer instead. There are three and two are in use. It looks simple enough and the ladies on them already don’t seem that athletic. I can do it!

I jump on and am immediately confused. I shove my right foot down and feel like I am running backwards. My left knee jerks up at an almost painful angle. I bounce around on the machine for another uncomfortable three seconds before I decide I would need to be an octopus to work this thing right.

I look around trying to decide which hostile, medieval torture device to use next. My gaze lands on the treadmill. Usually, I don’t use treadmills simply out of principal. I mean, I just friggen walked to the gym. It seems kind of stupid to walk to the gym so I can walk on a treadmill. But right now, the treadmill is the most non-threatening.

There’s an older man next to me. He had his treadmill set to a 15% incline and is walking at a speed of about 7 out of 14. No way am I getting beaten by a dude twice my age. I crank that thing up to a 40% incline and set the speed for fourteen.

I start to run. This isn’t so bad. In fact, I could do this all day. Suddenly, the treadmill shoots up until it is almost completely vertical and the belt starts moving at approximately 7000 MPH. I’m gasping to keep up and my goal is no longer fitness. It is to hit the emergency stop on the fucking machine before it flings me across the room.

I’m too late. One minute I’m stumbling on a demon possessed treadmill. The next, I’m flying through the air and landing on my back next to a yoga ball. I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling for awhile. I check my watch and realize I’ve been at the gym for about 10 minutes.

In my opinion, that’s ten minutes too fucking long. I sit up and gather my water bottle, iPod and gym key.

Hopefully, I can still find fen phen on the internet.