Monday, July 19, 2021

The Two Kinds of Bicyclists

Schultz Tank. Time outdoors is mostly why I ride. The other reason is fitness.


Speaking of bicycling, after resuming cycling as an adult over a decade ago, I determined that there are two types of bicyclists. The first type is the person who simply enjoys riding. This would include those who like to compete, and people like me who like to be outside, but also includes joyriders and fitness freaks for whom the riding is the point. The other type is the gear head.

Gear heads don't so much like bicycling as much as the bicycles. They are obsessed with the machinery of a bike. In the field of mountain biking, they can be identified as owning expensive mountain bikes that are kept in pristine condition at all times. This is achieved by a combination of simply not riding (because they don't want to get the bike dirty or scratched), and completely disassembling the bicycle to clean it after every ride, literally. Or at least disassembling the entire drive train to include pedals and maybe even the crank.

Disassembling a mountain bike is not a trivial undertaking. I suppose once you have done it a few times it goes easier and faster, but it's slow even for an expert. And the process requires special tools that are not necessarily useful for other things, including a torque wrench, and the proper values to set the torque wrench. This is such a complex process that the average bicyclist who simply likes riding would not normally do it. It's especially notable when you consider that most experienced bike mechanics do not think it is strictly necessary to disassemble a bicycle to get it completely clean. Just search YouTube on the topic if you disagree.

You could go years without ever taking apart the entire bicycle to keep it clean and functioning properly. I know. That's exactly what I've done for over a decade now.

I wish I had the maintenance skill of the gear head bicyclists, but I wouldn't want to be afraid to ride my bicycle just because I'm obsessed with the shiny, cold machine perfection of a clean bicycle. That's ridiculous.

I always try to spend more time riding my bike than I do maintaining it. It's completely possible and more fun.

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