Friday, March 13, 2009

Know yourself

Getting my new bike really taught me something. It taught me that I've been messing around for a long time riding bikes that don't fit. I'm still amazed at how comfortable I am on my new bike and just how miserable I am on my other bikes. The Raleigh has been reduced to parts and is currently banished to the metal shed where bikes seldom return - just ask the 10 year old mountain bike. The Swobo, the single speed, is still in a heavy rotation schedule as it's my commuter. But damn it if I'm not now miserable on it. Now, I can fix all the things that bug me. I can get a different seat. I can get a shorter stem. I will tighten the chain (Had "Da Robot" moment where my chain thought about leaving). But fact is, I need to make a lot of changes to that bike.

The thing is, I think I wouldn't have changed anything if it wasn't for the new bike. I have a tendency to just keep grinding away on things that there are easier ways to get done. But once I'm enlightened, I am quick to identify the areas that needed improvement. The thing that gets me is I didn't know what comfort on a bike was. I expected to be sore and cramped and have difficulty. When I see someone ride for 4 hours I just assume they felt awful and were tougher than me. Maybe I was the toughest riding my tiny clown bike up the mountain.

I'm sitting here thinking how do you know if you're comfortable if you only have one bike? How do you compare? Is it an intuition that you could be better off with a different seat? A longer stem? Sliding your clips back a "scoach"? I dunno. I may just be totally out of touch with my body, but to me it seems you need to ride a lot of bikes. And by ride, I mean to ride them for longer periods than you ride bikes at a shop on a test ride. Oh and before you say get fitted by a pro, I've been fitted. It's just someone lining you up with the accepted criteria of what's considered the correct cycling posture. That still may not be what YOU think is comfortable.

Not sure where any of this is going. As I write on and on I think this really says more about me and my dislike of talking to people in bike shops and being assertive when being fitted. Or maybe it's that the shops in my town where I got fitted really did truly suck like I remember, because the guy who built my bike did an amazing job and maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. I'm not sure. I just know that you don't have to be uncomfortable. It's possible to be comfortable on a bike. And it's really nice too.

Oh and a last thing about comfort before I stop ( which I should have about 3 paragraphs ago - this is a wretched post): You know what's not comfortable? Any trackpad that's not the new buttonless macbook trackpad. Holy shit is it hard to go back to a trackpad with a button. I've stopped numerous times trying to remember how to "right-click". I want my 13" macbook! This Macbook Air is thin and light and a dream to commute with but man oh man, once you use that new trackpad you really can't go back.

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