Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Journey is the Goal... isn't it?
Needless to say, riding to and from work is not only a way to get fit and enjoy nature before slogging in the Corporate Mines, it's an ongoing process of seeing what works and making adjustments as needed to assure that riding is a pleasant and satisfying experience. For me, the journey is not enough - although this is a large part of why I have decided to start riding - the process of making my bike a harmonious extension of myself is something that has fascinated me and that I have striven towards since I was a teenager.
Back in a thinner time, I was a cyclist. That means, I wore a casing of insanely colored Lycra and rode a incredibly thin-tired road bike hundreds of kilometers a week. These days, I'm a fat guy in street clothes on a bike with both a dynamo driven light AND fenders. Oh, how the mighty have fallen... At any rate, I didn't choose to be a cyclist - my parents bought me a Schwinn Traveler in light blue for my 15th birthday. I wanted a cool freestyle bike, 100% sure that with the right bike, I would be able to do all those cool tricks I saw on TV without any sort of practice. Instead, I got a road bike and was tossed involuntarily into another world.
As I rode the new bike and became familiar with the basics like riding position and using the gearing to ride farther and more efficiently, I came to realize that my bike was rather cheaply equipped. I had made some friends who rode regularly and the snickered endlessly at the balloon-like width of my tires. To remedy this required me to get new rims. This, logically, meant I had to get new tires. Since I now had less rolling resistance and was able to get supercool 16mm wide slick tires, i had to stop wearing my Nikes and get some cycling shoes. This, of course meant new shoes AND new pedals.
I think you can see where this all leads.
When I finally got rid of the old girl, the only Schwinn-issued part of the bicycle left was the frame. Even the fork had been replaced. I had done everything within my limited funds to make that heavy steel frame as close to the Colnago I had been dreaming of as possible. Every part exchanged was to either improve efficiency or to save weight - usually both. My parents never really understood it but they didn't complain when my weekly wages for feeding the cats, mowing the lawn, and taking out the trash were spent on some new thing for the bike. Of course, now that I am older, my desire to constantly improve my bike hasn't left me. My girlfriend doesn't really understand it either. ;-)
Anyway, I'll keep posting about the various changes regarding my bike.