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IS 'BETTER' BETTER?

 

210514WP

Yesterday as I was pumping up the still-leaky back tyre and rearranging my wardrobe prior to a pedal in the woods, a friend was emerging from the forest and we had a quick catch up.

She was pumped full of endorphins and I was looking forward to my dose, so we were both quite excitable about everything. Particularly, bikes. Mine was parked, ready to go, looking a little knocked around, some may even say shabby, but pretty damn good. (They say bikes come to resemble their owners…or is that dogs?) It became the centre of attention. Leonie asked me whether I was thinking about upgrading.

Discussion moved on to the various new things that can be procured, and the performance benefits involved. An example was quoted of a person we know. She occupies a place many levels above mine in the great bike-riding speed-pile. She HAD to have a new bike with a slightly longer wheelbase, slightly larger wheels, and a much brighter colour-scheme, to keep up with the boys she hangs out with, who are always on the cutting edge of wheelbase, wheel size and colour scheme, and are living gods of the trail.

Maybe she did.

But in my place on the very useful Tama Easton Radness Curve, there are other things that affect my velocity far more than the outside circumference of my wheels.

Putting aside the obvious, which is that no cyclist has ever achieved the buddha-like state in which a desire for a new machine never enters the consciousness, I love my current bike. It may still have tiny little wheels, and it may only have 10 cogs, but I only have ten fingers, and I am easily confused. It may have some of its coat missing, but it still rings my bell. Not that I have a bell, but still.

When we look at what we have these days, even a three year old sled is an amazing thing. A brand spanking new one is also an amazing thing, whether it is from the budget end of the spectrum, or it comes with a mortgage application form.

Whatever, we have bikes these days which are so good that the differences between them from year to year and model to model are fairly abstract. It is easy to forget that not so long ago we had bikes that were not so evolved for what we do with them. If you need proof of that, and have five minutes to spare, turn the music off and check this out.