The Politics of Owning a Nice Bike
The willingness of people to be cruel in their ignorance never ceases to amaze me. When it comes to who owns what bike, it’s easy to go too far in a hurry…
I was checking out the GCN Show the other day because a commenter on one of my posts suggested I submit my pop-up camper bike rack for the Hack of the Week. I’ve long followed the GCN Show and hadn’t seen the new edition so I sat in for a spell to check it out.
15 seconds in (or so), the world famous Kevin Grishkot mounted his Cervelo S5 ($5,000 give or take) complete with Rolf Prima Carbon Ares 6 wheels (another $2,300 give or take) and a Casco Speedairo RS helmet (320 € or $360), complete with pull down shades. Let’s see, aero, aero, aero… Check. There’s only one problem: the world famous Kevin Grishkot’s body is most decidedly not yet aero…
Now, give that big fella a few years on that Cervelo and I’m sure he’ll be down to a svelte figure (one would assume), and I never begrudge anyone the right to own a really nice bike. However, you get down into the comments on the show and things get a little edgy, including “Hahaha that cervelo guy. classic middle age men [sic] with a bike not proportional to the fitness”.
I have been given a hard time about my choice of bicycle by more than one know-it-all dolt as well:
Now, to be honest here, my form more aptly matches my bike (I think):
On the other hand, one cannot escape the reality that my bike did cost a sh!t-ton of money. Wheels (and that Godforsaken helmet) notwithstanding, I’m right up there with Kevin. The main point is not whether a middle-aged person needs a bike like Kevin or I own. Mine, right down to the matching red Keo-Classic pedals, carbon aero handlebar, and carbon crankset is all about what I wanted. I’ve described the moment I decided I would own that bike on this blog before. It was on the main display above the cash register at the local shop… I walked in looking for a pair of shorts or something, and there it was in all its glory. I knew right then I would have that bike. After several months I did. A few upgrades later and I have a bike that I thoroughly enjoy riding. Every single time I throw my leg over it or see it in the bike room (yes, I have a bike room in the house – it doubles as a spare bedroom), I think about how lucky I am to own it.
Such is the politics of envy and jealousy.
He’s too heavy to ride that Cervelo, there are pigmies in Africa who could eat for a lifetime on what I paid for my bike, she doesn’t ride fast enough for that Liv Envie…
Here’s the real question for those who would be judge and jury for which bike an individual should ride: Who the f@ck are you?
What many of these ignoramus judges miss out on is the rest of the story. In my case, I saved up the money for months and paid cash for that bike. While I do have a spare bedroom that we keep our bikes in, our home is a modest story and a half country home. While many in my field drive a $50,000 pickup truck, I opted for a more modest vehicle that does much better on gas… In other words, I live modestly so I can afford a little more bike than the average person. In Kevin’s case, all the loser had to run on is that he’s a rotund guy on a nice bike.
Herein lies the rub when it comes to the politics of envy of those who judge whether or not someone should be riding the bike they do: They never know the whole story, they just go by their knee-jerk reaction and assume that the version of the story they made up in their head is right. And here’s the best part: When politicians do it (or worse, those who are gullible enough to place their faith and trust in politicians), they have even less to go on. In that case, it’s almost entirely about greed, jealousy and envy.
I must always remember that I don’t have the whole story, that I am no judge of character for who should do what (short of lying, cheating and stealing) with the money they make. I must remember that when I sink to envy, jealousy and greed, I indeed am an @$$hole.