BASE jumping for kids!
Expertly fitted, high-end, 16 pound bike: Check.
Excellent wheel-set: Check.
Excellent race-worthy components: Check.
The perfect saddle: Check.
Pro shorts: Check.
Cycling socks (proper length, match bike paint scheme): Check.
Pro composite racing shoes with soles so stiff you could husk and crack open a coconut with one: Check.
Pro quality jerseys (also match bike paint): Check.
High quality brain bucket: Check.
The perfect gloves: Check
Perfect cycling shades: Check.
A heart the size if a cantaloupe, the lung capacity of a hot air balloon and two tree trunks for legs (tightly shaven of course): Check.
Not one of these is required to really enjoy cycling. Not one, though the last one helps a lot, but that’s not the point. First, being perfectly kitted out and having a great bike will have you looking the part but that’s not all it’s cracked up to be either. You might think, “oh, it would be awesome if I could have a great bike”! “Everyone would love me, people would respect me and young women (men, take your pick) would swoon”… Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.
I’ve run into several bloggers, myself included, who have bumped their foreheads on the superbike blues. Before you procure said bike you have this idea that cycling will be the same, you’ll just have a nicer bike. You purchase the bike, go through the three-hour fitting process, take your “day one” photos and head out for your first ride… At first, you’re like, “this is AWESOME“! Then, about ten miles in, it hits you: “I no longer have any excuses“. That’s about the time you realize, after you spent that $4,000-$12,000, you still have a bike that won’t pedal itself.
It took me approximately one hour to get over that. I decided I didn’t care because my bike is freaking awesome and I deserve it. On the other end of the spectrum, many people compound that thought and take it a step further, entertaining the notion that they may not be worthy of that superbike because they’re not fast enough. I have had this very thought cross my mind twice but I dismissed it immediately as useless. Others aren’t so fortunate, and continuing down that road can ruin an otherwise fantastic experience. That thinking is pernicious.
With that hanging out there, having everything, just right, where you can walk into a bike shop and not need anything (that’s “need”, not “want”), is some kind if awesome.
Assuming you have your saddle time in, cycling with the perfect equipment does make a difference, in feel. Gone is the pressure and pain in your nether regions – you’ve got the perfect saddle at the perfect height and the perfect shorts. The hot-spots on your feet are no more – you’ve got the right shoes and socks and your cleats are perfectly aligned so your legs are more like efficient pistons. No more with the sore shoulders from reaching too far or the numb hands from too much forward weight. No longer are your hands limited to only the hoods and bar top because it’s uncomfortable to ride in the drops. Gone is that jolt you feel through your aluminum frame because your back wheel rolled over a pebble. When you’re on new, baby-butt smooth asphalt you wonder when they started paving roads with glass.
You wonder how you ever rode that old bike. Then you remember: You rode that old aluminum monster because, while the new bike is nice, you fell in love with cycling long ago on that old bike because, even through all of that trial and error in getting everything set up right, cycling is awesome. That’s when you fully grasp the saying, “it’s not about the bike, it’s about the person in the saddle”.
Then you think, “Yeah, but my superbike sure is awesome”.
Indeed it is, they are. Ride it like you bought it.