I have to preface this entire article with a confession: I am new to the bike scene, but not new to the mountain scene. After almost 10 years living in Downhill Mecca (read: Whistler), I bought a decent secondhand bike, a 2010 Giant STP. Prior to this, I had the run-of-the-mill, Canadian Tire special that I didn’t realize I hated until I got the new one.
I adore busting around town on it – heading to the lake takes 10 minutes, and a 15 minute walk becomes a 5 minute ride. That means one more Snooze before work. It’s almost like I’m 9 years old again, before smartphones and the Internet, where finding out where your friend was meant spotting their “rig” outside a kid’s house. Probably getting coerced by their mom to go outside instead of sitting in the basement playing Super Nintendo. It’s so hot out there, Mom!
Then: tragedy. My bike decided to cannibalise itself: the hanger broke, pulling the rear derailleur into the rear wheel, locking everything. It’s pretty humiliating having to carry what appears to be a perfectly good bike. Thankfully I was cruising to check the mail and not midway down a trail of some sort, or it would have been utter chaos.
So now I’m sitting here, looking at my up-ended bike that’s taking up the lion’s share of my living room space, wondering how many times this will happen over the course of my life, let alone this beast’s. $30 here, $100 there, fixing, replacing, tweaking, the machine slowly moving up my list of priorities. It won’t be long before it’s right underneath “rent”.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I’ve only had this thing a month, and it’s a responsibility – not quite a child, but maybe a pet. We have some great times, and just as we’re getting the hang of something, a piece crumbles, snaps, pings or deflates. (This isn’t even counting when you’re bucked from the saddle and sustaining your own bodily snaps and pings.) Logically, I should take up golf, or chess. If I lose a pawn, I can replace it with a salt shaker. Maybe it’s the combination of summer and speed, but I can see myself spending a lot of time and money just running this bike into the ground.
It’s not like a car – sure, people love them all the same, but there’s no connection. A motorized vehicle can run and move without a person in the driver’s seat, as any physical comedy movie will show, but a bike just falls over without two legs powering the gears. That need is reciprocated by the need to ride – to go faster, to jump bigger, and to sweat harder. Coupled with a love of getting dirty and greasy (ladies) from fixing The Beast, and it’s a match made in Mecca.