Monday, June 27, 2005

It's like a garden

My wife was hassling me the other night as I was in the garage yet again working on the bikes. Are you working on your bike again? Well, duh. I'll admit it has been a bit excessive lately as I'm trying to get a brand new bike dialed in, and it's a slow, itterative process.

But even without having to set up a new bike, true bike geeks are always working on their bikes. Always fixing things that have come loose, or stretched or broken, or worn out, always tweaking to get the most out of things.

It's kind of like a garden. You don't just throw some seeds on the ground and then expect to get squash in a few weeks. If you don't constantly tend it you'll end up with weeds and crab grass. And when you go riding with other people it is pretty easy to pick out the guys who don't tend their gardens. They are always the ones breaking down on the side of the trail, skipping gears on a climb. Shaking headset, loose pedals, pinging spokes, and on and on.

Sure plenty of things happen on the trail in terms of mechanicals but there are always those dudes who's bike is one thread away from disintegration. In my very formative years of mountain biking I went on a ride with a fool who helped burn into my mind the importance of bike upkeep. I met this guy outside the bookstore at UC Davis. I had my brand new KHS Montana XT and was fussing over something, and saw his bike and noticed some Ritchey red brake pads and asked him about them. He looked like a real mountain biker well I guess more real then me. He said that he and his buddies were going for a ride at Rockvile park. Like driving somewhere to a real trail. Would I like to go along.

OMG, I mean yes, of course, but I'm not that good..yada yada. I was an impressionable person than as I am now. I messed with my bike for an hour b4 going over there and was 20mins early. He and his roommate drove out there with their helmets on and smoking pot and I rode with another friend of theirs. He was a sponsored duathalete. He had a Schwinn KOM in team colors. I was hanging on every word he said.

On the ride we were climbing this rocky sort of track and the dude I'd originally met at the bookstore was skipping gears something fierce. Every pedal stroke..ka chunk, ka chunk. Um can you say stretched chain on a worn cassette. Or new chain on an old cassette. I was behind him and surprised that I was riding much stronger than him especially with his gear issues. So he ka chunks one final time, gets off his bike screaming and picks his bike up and hucks it. I mean over his head and throws it off the trail. WWF wrestling meets mountain biking. There are rocks everywhere.

My jaw was on the ground. I could not believe it. I'd been developing my anal bike habits and obsessed over my bike like I do to this day. Rolling up paper towels into small points and cleaning between the chain links one at a time. And to see this guy diss his bike by chucking it like that was beyond my comprehension.

After he retreived his bike with dings and a bent wheel and we worked on it to get it rideable at least, I dropped him like a bad habit and rode with the other guy. Never ever treat your bike like that. It's ok to get mad sometimes, but don't disrespect it like that. Treat it well and it will treat you well. Tend you garden.


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Man I hucked my bike like that about 8 yeas ago and regret it to this day. Today I'd throw myself before my bike. Love your bike and it'll love you.


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