Monday, September 30, 2013

Bike Wisdom, Cont'd.

One more piece of velosophy occurred to me today, after that long list I posted last week. Like the others, this one is counter-intuitive and was only learned after time and tide washed away my preconceptions:

The weight of a bike has ZERO direct effect on the enjoyment of riding that bike.

You read that one right; zero.

My "road bike" today is something I would have scoffed at a few years ago, when I proudly called myself a "roadie," with all the sniffy connotations of that word. It's made from steel, the heaviest frame material around. It's got 28 mm tires. ("What!? That's extra rotational weight!" Yup.) As of this weekend, I've placed an oversized canvas saddlebag under the seat, and hooked up, relatively permanently, a lovely little handlebar bag to keep important items handy (more to come on both bags). Extra weight, extra weight, AND aerodynamic loss. Wow. What a Fred!

I may be a Fred and I may not be. But I went on a very hilly 64 mile ride yesterday with a friend (the longest of the season so far) and, whereas my friend often outdistances me on the hills, I was the sprightly one this time. With the extra weight and baggy-ness.

Why? Because I'm in shape.

And why is that?

Because I freakin' LOVE my bike and its setup. It works for everything I like to do on a bike, from fast and short road rides to long, mixed-surface rambles in the insanely hilly country.

So I've been spending more time on it.

So I'm more fit. With or without extra weight on the bike.

Your body's systems adapt to whatever load they are under. Take advantage of this fact and get the bike you'd feel most comfortable on, is most beautiful to you, carries what you need, and goes where you would really like to go, but haven't yet.

Who cares if you're first up the hill? The point is, you'll be freakin' happy!


Emmy said...

That sounds great! Whatever makes you happy. I prefer to travel light but with repair tools I can't seem to manage.

I loved my old 32 lb. Diamondback Topanga. Say what you want but I think road biking is far more of a risk to life than mountain biking. The joke with us is that when I crash, my mountain bike always lands on top of me but the weight gives me a (probably false) sense of control on the road.

How did bike riding become so political? I confess when I jog around the lake (with no mountain in sight) I am puzzled by these hikers with Camelbacks, step trackers, wrist packs.....we're not climbing Mount Everest.

But it's just an observation. I enjoy seeing different gear. Of all things, biking should be about fun and connecting with nature. If someone were to judge me I'd go biking by myself instead.

Velosopher said...

I think I agree with you, Emmy (and like the humor of your MTB observation).

I'm not judging folks as much as exhorting everyone to make sure they're enjoying themselves. I know so many "serious" cyclists who can ride my legs off, but never seem to really experience the joy inherent in a bicycle. They ride like they're being chased by wolves.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

My main road vehicle is a Rocky Mt. CX bike. I love the upright geometry for my neck and I switch the tires for dirt or road. It has easier gearing too, which feels fine. I feel cooler on it for some reason. The "I don't give a F*+#" factor I suppose. It's a couple pounds heavier than my Raleigh...I don't feel a difference.

Velosopher said...

All right in line with what I'm saying. Thanks, HWB.