Friday, 22 February 2013

Cycling...It's both simple and complex

The Sunday Best...with  training tyres fitted.
It's wasn't until I had to step back from the bike for a bit, that I realized how much time I had spent putting in the miles over the past year....
I seem to have so much spare time at the moment that I have found myself doing all sorts of chores that I normally manage to avoid....

One job I never avoid is making sure that my bikes are clean and polished and are in both cosmetic and mechanical tip top condition..
This past week all three bikes have been subjected to a thorough check and full clean....I even put a set of  Conti Gatorskins on the Felt in anticipation of some decent spring weather over the next couple of months....

As I only use the Felt if the weather is dry and sunny I might end up waiting a while before I use it.....
I hope to use it for the Jurassic Beast Sportive on the 12th May if the weather looks good, but for that I will put the Vittoria Open Corsa CX  tyres back on.... 
I run Conti Gatorskins on the Tifosi all the time and over the past couple of years have completed what must be getting on for 18,000 miles on gatorskins and have found them great for everyday/training rides....but prefer the Corsa's on the Felt during a sportive. 

Being off the bikes has had me considering the different aspects of cycling that I like so much... It's very much a dichotomy....
On the one hand there is the simplicity of cycling....the enjoyment of the simple pleasure of spinning along the road propelled only by my own efforts....the simplicity of a bicycle in it's purest and most basic form...the simple fact that in a general way the bicycle has changed very little since it's invention.... 

Then...on the other hand....there is the complexity of cycling.....such as the different types of bike....the various materials they can be fashioned from. 
Then we have single speed...fixie....various gears....downtube shifters...bar end shifters...hub gears..STI's etc.. 
Looking at  handlebars you can get...classic drop bars...compact drop bars... ergonomic bars....shallow drop..short reach...flat top aero etc etc.. 

Yes once you start looking into it there is a greater complexity to it all than the simplicity there at first appears.... 
But I love it all..the simple...the complex it's all part of the cycling scene...

One of the things that I like, is how items such as the various makes of cycle clothing for instance, can help to create 'tribes' and 'sub cultures' within the cycling fraternity....riders will buy a make of clothing such as Castelli, Shutt, Rapha or Pearl Izumi and wear them almost as a badge of pride...a ticket to an inner sanctum of cycling ... 
It's the same with the manufacturer of the gears...Are you Shimano...Campagnolo..Sram...?  Pedals too.. Look...Time..Shimano...Speedplay.... which tribe do you belong to.....?  
...And when it comes to all the various bike brands..well that is just more tribal affinity.... 
Cycling really can be as simple or complex as you wish it to be....  

Cyclists themselves can be pretty complex and varied too.....some see a ride to work on their bike as a battle...a war against other forms of transport...
Some see every ride as a race... for others the bike is purely an urban means of transport...
Then we have those who see the bike as a good means of escape from their normal routine life, a way to go touring and camping and see places that might not normally be visited... for others it is a means by which they can challenge both themselves and their machine....
Bike brands...cycle styles...cycle clubs..even the helmet you wear..they can all be an opportunity to join a particular cycling tribe.....
Yes cyclists can really be as complex and varied as everything else that comes under the 'cycling' heading... 

I love it all...the simplicity, the complexity, the people and it's history...it really is far more than an interest........it can be so many different things to so many people..................

Regarding cycling as a means of challenging the cyclist and the machine.......
Have you got around to checking out my Ten Countries in Ten Days fundraising page yet?  
Just give it a click and take a look at my own 2013 cycling challenge.....Thanks....

7 comments:

neilbradleylejog2013.com said...

Great post and so very true too :-)

As for tyres I recently changed to Hutchinson tubeless with Ultegra wheels from Gator skins as i found them such a harsh ride and not particularly grippy in the wet and the difference is remarkable i would highly recommend them

Trevor Woodford said...

I will check the Hutchinson tubeless out Neil...but I must say that has not been my experience of the G/skins and in 18,000miles I have not had one puncture either...Cos, now I've told you that!! :-)

Trevor Woodford said...

NB: The following comment didn't up
upload properly so I've re-entered it-

welshpaddler said...

Simple and complex! take today for instance. I planned a nice ride up one side of the upper Tywi in Carmarthenshire and back down the other side. At the half way a puncture - more thorns! Right just change the tube, but once again the tube was the wrong size - lesson, don't rely on a bike shop to sell you the right one, but ensure it agrees with the information handed over. Then break your pump! Still it was nice countryside for a walk.

Trevor Woodford said...

*welshpaddler*

Every ride is an adventure.. :-)
Just shows that when buying an inner tube we should all check them out first and make sure they match what it says on the box...Still as you say you had a walk in nice countryside and you were out there doing it...

John Romeo Alpha said...

You are soooo right. Pick up the latest editions of Bicycling magazine and Bicycle Quarterly, you would think they were talking about completely different subjects. Probably as many different opinions as there are riders....probably better to ride the ride you love, and have fun.

Marsha said...

True, and well said. I am particularly fascinated by the differences in cycling clothing and basic safety gear. Who'd think that small things could be taken so seriously?

Trevor Woodford said...

*John Romeo Alpha*
As you say...better to ride the ride you love and avoid the trying to fit into a particular group....

*Marsha*
It's surprising isn't it Marsha how seriously some people takes all that stuff...as JRA say's, better to just ride the ride you love...