Friday, February 06, 2009

My Cycling State of Mind

With the looming economic crisis, our family, as I'm sure with most everyone else's, have started to really cut back on our frivolous spending. We're even going farther than cutting back on our spending, we're trying to rid completely all of our debt. Everything. Including the Mortgage. While it's a good looking plan, and it will come to fruition in the foreseeable future, there are definitely certain sacrifices that are being made in the in term. One of them being the amount of money being spent on non-necessities. In my particular case, bikes. I've got plenty of great bikes, and I pretty much have a decent bike for any type of riding that I may want to to. So why would I have to keep spending anyway? Well, like most bike geeks, there are always little tweaks here and there, new products to try and upgrades that can always be made to the collection.

All that is being put on hold for a while, and it's actually quite liberating. I'm finding myself forced to the parts bin more often to re-use old items, and quite often I'm surprised at just what I have in there. Stuff I've forgotten about for even years. I'm learning to make due with what's on hand, built from scratch other items and generally just using more of the stuff that I already have. It kind of makes sense.

Sure sometimes there are certain upgrades that make a big difference and you need to adjust this and that to find the right fit and function, but often, I change things for the sake of change. That's a little crazy. I don't know of a single bike or bike component that I've actually worn out (except for tires). I've begun to notice that I was devoting more of my time, researching, upgrading and fussing with bikes than I actually was riding them. It is obviously easier to spend more time thinking about bikes than actually riding them, but when is that ratio out of balance?

Does it make sense to spend hundreds of dollars changing a bike, countless hours working on it and tweaking it numerous times, and only a fraction of that amount of time riding the thing? I don't think so. I'm starting to tell myself, "Just ride the bike for Pete's sake." Bike tweaking and modifications shouldn't become the primary activity that makes up your cycling life should it? For me, it all comes down to this simple questions: What does a cyclist do?

Rides a bike. Simple isn't it?


Christopher Johnson said...

You speak wisdom, my friend. Bravo on your debt elimination efforts. Bravo on everything you said. I get way too distracted by looks and far too quickly discontented with something that is plenty good as it is. Ride bike.

Arleigh said...

This exact thought is something I ponder daily. As I manage a bike shop I am left to lust, crave and research. On top of that I review and research product for and which means it really does seem like I read/write/lust more than I ride!

Amen to you, thank you for reminding us all!

Smudgemo said...

It's probably an addiction like anything else. I cut back too, and now I really don't miss it. All the new bikes aren't really all that new, anyway. Why bother when the old one I've got is nowhere used up?

Explain to me how builders in this new economy like Foes/Ellsworth/etc. are going to find enough people spending $3k on an mtb frame/shock to keep the doors open.

Roman Holiday said...

Just ride.