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June 27, 2012

Rivendell - good reminders about riding bikes

It's been a while since I looked up the Rivendell Bicycle Works website, but recently I did and it made me happy. This shop seems to be built around a philosophy that riding a bike is not complicated, can be done by anyone in anyway, and is fun. Or should be. The stuff sold by Rivendell has a very old school, classic, almost European style. Leather and tweed and steel are the materials of choice and harken back to a simpler time. There are a lot of articles posted up with tips and thoughts about a wide variety of things and one that stood out was "How to Make the Rest of Your Family Hate Riding." Included in the bullet-ed list were these tips:

  • Buy them upscale bikes, and remind them how expensive they are. The guilt they’ll feel for not appreciating them is a fantastic motivator.
  • Make sure they know that expensive bikes make hard hills easy, so when they’re struggling, they’ll think it’s them, and work harder to improve.
  • Force them to wear lycra shorts and jerseys. This will reinforce how easy and natural it is to just hop on a bike and ride somewhere.
I showed C those first two and she smiled because she realized, as I did, that I've been trying to convince her she needs an upscale bike. (That's not necessarily true, I just believe she needs a better bike than the heavy, poor-fitting, abused bike she currently owns.) It's true, however, that I've been pushing an upscale bike largely because of my employee discount; and it's true that she doesn't need an expensive bike considering she has very little enthusiasm about riding, at least relative to my own obsession. 

Anyway, I find myself around young guys without their own families and a shit-ton of disposable income and free time. What that allows is big stable of expensive bikes with carbon fiber this and lightweight that. And I'm constantly comparing myself to them. It sucks. It's hard to remove myself from it. It's also hard to be surrounded by "nice" (expensive) bikes all the time and not yearn to have one for myself. It's also hard to not feel that having a certain bike would allow me to do all sort of cool things (i.e. tour across America, or win a road race, or become some sort of amazing, fast, balls-y mountain biker), because the reality is I ride my road bike 0.2 miles to work or to the grocery or to pull the bike trailer and I ride my mountain bike pretty slowly and timidly on nearby trails. That's not to sound too self deprecating, because I always enjoy the riding I do, but it's to point out that I don't need an aggressive road racing bike or a crazy spec'd-out mountain rig. I just need the right tool for the job. Something to pick up a couple pizzas when it's time; to haul our girls to the library, pool, or park; and something that won't break when I misjudge an obstacle on the local singletrack trail.

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