The Bike I Have
August of last year began the burning murmur of an obsession. I had gone for a ride on my cross bike leading up to cross season and long before smacking my melon on the ground for what seemed like the umpteenth time. I rode my Ridley out thirty some odd miles and then back in. At the end of the ride it was easy to notice how much my knees & back were still with me. I just made casual note of how much I enjoyed the ride overall. From that point on I began to think about the endurance or performance category of bikes. But, truth be told I thought about it long before that.
Life had been moving at a whirlwind pace since 2005. Life changes, career changes, happy accidents, wildly unfortunate acts of nature. All of this combined compelled me to remain on the bike. Some years training hard. Others, barely eeking out a ride for months at a time. Dealing with life change is difficult but occasionally, and only occasionally, when it didn’t align with the ability to get on the bike the wheels came off the proverbial bus altogether. That’s when things would halt and I’d push through some level of benevolent recalibration. Doing this would require some impetus and a spark to set it in motion. That’s where Paris-Roubaix would come into play.
While there are many spring classics Paris-Roubaix falls on or near my birthday. As long as I can make it to Roubaix I know the weather will go from cold to warm, the days will go from short to long and the rides will return. Roubaix is my spark.
Making the connection to Boonen’s return to a win on Roubaix is not difficult for many folks, including myself. Seeing Tom Boonen ride towards the velodrome holding up his hand to signify his wins and the broad, genuine smile of joy still brightens my day. Purely not because I think Boonen has the ability to be fantastic on a bike nor is it because a fans appreciation for a professional. But, merely because Boonen had a bad run of luck. He made some poor choices and then, he came back. Like many I can far too easily dwell on the bad things rathe than appreciate the future. But, shifting to appreciate the moment. That’s what I found the most joy in for Boonen on that day. He was there, in the now, and enjoying every damn second on that damn bike.
When I saw somebody tweet recently about a Roubaix SL4 I could price that bike out down to the penny. That burning murmur of an from last August has grown into an obsessive wildfire of ideas. The bike does not make the rider but I had fallen into the trap of connecting and capturing joy with a possession. Only recently have I clawed out. The rationale is simple but it bears repeating: the best bicycle you can have is a working one. I keep telling myself that again and again. Does that make me want to ride a Specializeed Roubaix, Trek Domane, BMC GF or any of the alleged “Sport” or “Endurance” bikes any less? Not really, but as we come closer to April 7th it doesn’t bother me to not have something like that in the stable. As I approach a birthday later that week it’s just a reminder that Roubaix will have come and gone, the recalibration will have begun and now it’s time to ride the working bicycle I have.
These are the things I think about while out riding when the weather says 38 but feels like 22.
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