Pertinent Questions

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned the need to be faster with the different people and landscape Birmingham presents me with. Since then, I’ve become concerned with being, shall we say, swift . In short, I have gotten at least a tad faster, even among the hills. In fact, I have gained a thousand feet on my rides with the same ride time. Going up hills faster than ever has been eye-opening.

I have to admit though, on an overall standpoint I don’t care for it, due to my fault entirely. Now, I like that there is less “stuff” on the bike. But, being faster has made me think of things like wanting to buy bib shorts and jerseys, being Strava obsessed, counting grams in my tires, and even wanting a bike with racing geometry. Stuff that isn’t me.

Only a few years young with being in love with cycling, I suppose it is only natural to sway back and forth about what it is I want from the hobby. A few things are constant –  the camaraderie with others, seeing surroundings in a different light, and the benefits of being more fit and healthy.

While I am teetering on finding my own path, my mind repeatedly goes back to a post Mary at Chasing Mailboxes posted several months ago in her “On Writing & Riding” series. In this post, she interviewed Nicholas Carman of Gypsy By Trade. Particularly this caught my attention:

More importantly, I got tired of the classic friction wool lugged steel lobby, even though I have chosen to use a lot of this equipment. The idea is to make my own decisions, and to share them with others.

I write somewhere on the blog: “I am perpetually infatuated with bikes; old bikes, new technology that makes life better, and cheap creative solutions to problems. I love bikes, but they aren’t sacred. Make your bike better for you. Make it yours.”

Full Interview

At first, I was a little taken back that Nick would work at VO then make these comments. But he is right. We should build our bikes to our needs. Not build them according to what the manufacturer routinely shows in their bike catalogs.

I had to get over my own bike build. My pretty Honjo fenders and rear Constructeur rack were on my bike at a point when I did not need them. After much contemplating, I removed them. But, why was it so hard? What was I holding onto? I was holding onto the “idea” of what my bike should look like, not what would allow me to have the most fun and be most functional. Editors note: I’m probably just going to put on a rear clip on fender or SKS fenders. *gasp*

Coming full circle, I’m reminding myself, “What is it that I want from cycling?” and “How can I make this MY bike?”. After all, when I truthfully answer these questions, that is when I am going to experience the fullest extent of this great lifestyle. It might be easier if I could drop some money for another bike to satisfy my different tastes when I wake each morning. But then, I wouldn’t be answering these pertinent questions before me.


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