I’m excited to get a new bike. Bikes are really cool, one of those items whose durability, aesthetic potential, and utility all unite and form a strong bond. To prepare, and prep the Karate Monkey for winter (and rehab it after a very muddy and wet weekend), I spent more time than I care to admit last night and the previous night futzing with grease and tool in the basement. I’ve biked less this year than any year since 2003, and the never-sharp edge of my mechanical acumen has only dulled as a result. Things like cleaning and regreasing a freehub and installing and adjusting derailleurs took far too long.
This dearth of mechanical wherewithall is no doubt part, but only part, of my building new bike dread. While the drivetrain will be a bit unconventional, the complexities promise to be much less than some of my past experiences (trying to run brifters on a mountain bike). Beyond the futzing which will doubtlessly occur, and the material setbacks which are almost certain (I’m content if I only break cheap things), the primary source of new bike dread is the process of becoming friends with the new bike.
Historically, this takes a long time. Finding the right position, adapting to handling quirks, really learning how it behaves at the outer edge of riding control and conditions. Maybe if I had owned more bikes in the past I wouldn’t find this such a big deal, but a big part of me thinks not. It even takes me ages to finally get the ergons sitting just right.
Fighting the dread of mechanical and personal acclimation is the process of researching new trips to do with the new tool in the shed. Turns out there is a rather impressive network of groomed and regularly traveled snowmachine trails within a two-hour radius. Jill, prepare to be jealous.
This is gear at its highest function: helping you see the immediate world in new ways.