Thursday, July 13, 2017

bike as mirror

"I'd be lying if I didn't admit that cycling is expensive." - Ayesha McGowan

If you've been riding for more than a year,  you've most likely felt the truth of that quote. Though we're not all racers (as McGowan is), many of us have probably spent more money on our bikes than we ever thought we would.

But if you've met more than a few cyclists, there is something that you've received great quantities of for absolutely nothing: advice.

I love you, ya big lug! (yes, I put this picture in just to make a stupid joke.)

Advice is generally given with the aim of helping the advisee. The formal definition of advice is "guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative."

Much advice can be good. I get a lot of excellent advice from the folks at my LBS. Since I've been test-riding bikes there for about a year, they pretty much know what I like and what my capabilities are, and their advice reflects it.

I've also received advice from former racers. Much of that advice is of the "treat your body well and you'll be able to ride for much longer" school. This advice is also appreciated.

But I've also received a lot of advice on "cycling style." This is largely wasted on me, since I have no style and no intention of obtaining any. I also believe that the ways people individualize their bicycles are a reflection of who they are.

Advice I ignored: On learning that I was doing a ride for charity, a colleague said "no other bikes on the ride will have racks or fenders, so be sure to remove those from your bike." Another person told me that "having more than three spacers on your steering tube means that you have the wrong size bike."

I know one cyclist who is an environmental scientist, and his daily ride is a twenty-year-old steel-framed bike fitted with used parts. Another cyclist I know identifies largely as an athlete, and her bike has no components she considers superfluous (like fenders or racks.) Yet another is focused on being a mother, and her bike is an old stable-riding steel frame with the capability of carrying her child, her first aid kit, extra food, and well, just about everything.

Myself, I'm a compulsive worrier. So my bikes will always have fenders (in case it rains) and racks (because I need to carry at least one overpacked pannier in case the zombie apocalypse occurs when I'm out riding.)

What do you think? Is your primary ride a reflection of who you are? What, then, does it say about you?

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