I have finally come to a sobering conclusion, I hate my Bike. Make no mistake it is a wonderfully crafted machine. After coming off of a 35 pound all mountain bike my Anthem accelerates like a startled wildebeest, and even though it is no six inch full squish bike it can handle most anything the mountains of Western Virginia can throw at it. It is not at all for technical reasons that I despise this Bike, but how it has changed the way I ride. When I first began mountain biking five years ago I went to be with friends and to leisurely pedal through the woods. Now I ride alone and at such a rapid pace that the only parts of the landscape that make an impression on me is the trees as I careen off them. This Bike has infected me with a disease that will never let me just enjoy being in the outdoors, but makes me strive to go faster, faster, faster, with no regard to the pain which it causes. If I step back and look at the big picture maybe it isn’t so bad. I actually do like going fast, and the pain in my legs ceases soon after I crest the mountain and look over the valley spread out before me. Maybe hate is too strong of a word; strong dislike would be a little better description of my feelings.
Look at it sitting there sneering at me!
Before the Bike came into my life I had many friends that I would go on short hour long rides with. Now I insist we go on 20+ mile rides with thousands of feet of climbing so the Bike’s appetite can be sated. As you would expect they will have nothing to do with me or the sufferfest that the Bike calls an easy ride. It has also addled my brain so all I can talk to people about is bikes, biking, bike trips, bike parts, and bike accessories. After a few minutes of my Bike induced babbling most people just walk away shaking their heads in pity like they just saw a drug addict on the streets of New York. You know what? Long rides have gotten me in much better shape so I am more able to enjoy my rides; who needs friends anyway when you have the Bike for company?
The Bike reminds me of some of my best teachers in school. They load you down with homework, 40 pound textbooks, and make you write so many papers you have to personally slay a pine forest to defray the cost of your notebooks. Their reign is comparable to that of Hitler and Stalin only more repressive. You may hate them for making you work so hard, but after you come out the other side unscathed you are a better and stronger person for it. Similarly the Bike crafts you into a stronger rider but only after much pain and affliction. The Bike pushes you to your limits and beyond. Distances and climbs that seemed impossible now are done not only with ease but actually enjoyment. Yes I said it, I enjoy climbing now! What has this Abomination done to me!
I look over this post and although there are many horrific things the Bike has made me do, it has really made me a much better cyclist. Maybe I won’t have to turn it into soda cans. Yet.
Till next time,