8 weeks with no cycling (plus 6 to go)
It might be a bit longer than 8 (it was in France in September when I last rode my bike) but 6 is fixed (because that is Christmas). The re-roofing job at my house must be finished by 22nd December or else. I have not ridden my bike because I am doing a lot of the work myself, and it has turned out to be more than a mere re-roof. I had thought it might take a couple of months at the most, but in Grand Designs fashion, things have slipped, or expanded. Not that the design is particularly grand as it affects only one third of the house, but it has to be done right. Anyway, if I ride my bike it will take longer. If I had gone cycling as I normally do I would be just starting parts of the job that are now complete.
On the plus side, I have probably saved a lot of money by not paying people to do things I can do myself. Enough money to buy maybe six carbon racing bikes (which of course I won't be buying). I have acquired a number of tools I didn't have, such as a plaster mixer, a large angle grinder to cut through bricks and concrete, and an electric multi-tool. I am learning to plaster, sort of. I have discovered that when something looks easy, it means it is.
I reckon the key to DIY – this applies to bicycles as well – is to sort out the requirements for success:
(1) The knowledge required for the task (anyone can acquire knowledge).
(2) The right tools. It is no use making do without (like trying to change headsets without a proper headset press).
(3) Time. I am lucky enough to have plenty.
(4) Some skill for the task. This is the interesting one.
With (1) (2) and (3) the need for (4) can be surprisingly small. The thing is pretend you've got lots of skill and proceed with confidence. Do not say to yourself "if this goes wrong I can always call in a professional" but say "I know how this is done and I am doing it." If it goes wrong, do it again. If scaffolding is required, hire some, just as a builder does. I am not trying to belittle the value of skilled tradesmen (or bicycle mechanics). Not everyone has the time or inclination for DIY, and some trades (eg plumbing and electrics) need more knowledge than is practicable to obtain, not to mention some legal requirements. Plasterboarding and skimming ceilings is too physical for most people, including me.
I don't particularly enjoy it either. Often, little DIY jobs are left unfinished for years. Cycling is much more fun. For once, roll on Christmas.