First of all, I want to apologize to my 2 readers for my prolonged absence. No excuse. I just haven’t had anything I wanted to write about. But, I can always depend on my stupidity, lack of confidence in my riding and absent-mindedness to put me back on Mt. Shredward with something to shout from its pixilated peak. Hopefully this will jar something loose and I’ll get the fingers flying for the sake of Mt. Shredward. I like writing about this stuff, but I don’t do it just for the sake of filling in space. I want to have something I deem worth writing about. Whether you deem it worthy is up to you.
So, on to my stupidity with some other thoughts mixed in.
I have a Toyota Corolla. When it’s just me, rather than put on my rack, I just drop the back seats to make my trunk space extra big, take off my front wheel, load in my bike and the wheel, slam the trunk closed and I’m on my way.
So I went through this routine last Wednesday morning, as I had a night ride planned after work:
Open trunk. Lean the seats forward. Take off my front wheel. Load in my bike. Slam the trunk closed. I’m on my way.
Oh wait, a step is missing; a step I didn’t realize I had skipped until I opened my trunk after driving all the way across San Francisco and parked. There I stood in a downtown parking area realizing that I had joined the ranks of the truly lame.
I called my wife to go to where I had been parked to see if there was a wheel there. No dice.
I was the now the not-so-proud owner of a Santa Cruz Blur LT unicycle. And some fucker who didn’t have the decency to leave a note on a nearby tree letting me know where I could get my wheel, was now the owner of my front wheel.
So, what did I learn? Not that I have a tendancy to go brain dead. I already knew that. I’ve proven it to myself many times. Not that many people are greedy dicks that would rather try to make a few bucks than help out someone who has screwed up. Everyone knows that. I actually didn’t learn anything.
But I was reminded of something that is so cool about bikes.
One of the main thing that makes bikes so special—so pure—is the fact that there’s no bullshit. Save suspension (on some bikes), the padding on your saddle and handlebar grips, every piece is essential (let’s leave gears out of the conversation. For most of us, they’re essential. Personally, I don’t get the whole single speed mountain bike thing). Unlike the ten thousand extra odds and ends on a car, you need every single piece of a bike for it to work. No handlebar, you’re fucked. Missing a pedal, you’re fucked. Broken chain? You got yourself a cumbersome scooter, not a bike. If you put your bike back together after a repair and you’ve got a hex nut left over, friend, you got yourself a mystery that better get solved before you hit the trail.
Bikes are perfect machines. Higher end parts are available for more durability and decreased weight, but in terms of basic construction, a bike is like a gator or a roach. It’s the same now as it’s been forever. There’s no need for evolution. Perfection. That’s why we love them.
But if I had to guess, I’d say there are no parts as essential to the operation of a bicycle as wheels. You lose a wheel, you don’t even have the option to roll anymore. You’re not pushing your broken bike home, you’re carrying the bastard.
When I fuck up, I go all out.