I had a birthday this last Monday. Not a giant, earth-shattering event, per se, however, it got me thinking more about, well, everything. And, that included not only my own life, it also included my riding, plus subsequent lack of writing, and enthusiasm, for my own blog. I mean, I REALLY lost interest in all-things-bike, and I began to just keep to myself (opinions included). I did not, however, arrive at that conclusion overnight.
My cycling-life can be charted like the stock market, or a roller-coaster – A series of up’s ‘n downs. Serious road riding began in late 2010, and my cycling life just flourished from there, snowballing to into voracious, all-weather riding, club membership’s, Century Rides, consulting, product testing, and ultimately, photography and writing. I never did earn a dime off the whole endeavor, though, miraculously, all of my compensation was in materials, i.e. components, nutrition, clothing, even memberships, were all comp'ed, which offset a lot of my expenses. In short – I got into, and sustained myself, in cycling for much, much less than most mere mortals do.
While rolling these issues around in the amusement park of my mind, other, similar, questions began to arise, such as, is the “New” really new? Is the “Better” really better? And, do we really “Need” everything we are being told we need? To the point, NO! My immersion into cycling has showed me the key to cycling happiness is to find something I liked, to stick with it, and replace things only as necessary, not because I was expected to. It was a much more logical, cheaper, approach, with the added benefit of much more stable blood pressure, no matter what angst, or ire, was on my radar at the moment.
And, getting too caught-up in cycling can be a very real double-edged sword. The actual reality of cycling is the same as the reality of life: Everything in moderation. A balance is another way to put it. The Good Lord calls it Wisdom. Whichever word to which you feel is applicable to your own life, the concept is the same - Total immersion can have both good, and bad, results. Riding every mile possible, seeking out all new products, trying out new, “Better,” bikes, meeting everyone meet-able, climbing everything climbable, towards all horizons, north, south, east, and west, takes one thing all of us do not have in an infinite supply – Energy.
No one can keep up the level of enthusiasm at the pace the cycling industry is unleashing on us. Every moment, of every day, a “New” something-or-other is/was around the corner. The industry thrives on keeping us all-charged up – Two wheeled pushers for the two wheeled addicts. Participate if you feel you must, however, this human is now off the Needs-Market driven high. Implied Needs? No, thank you! Sorry Marketing Department, “New” is not a selling feature onto itself.
And, I practice what I preach. My bike is a 2010 do-all road bike, my truck is a 1994 reliable companion, my motorcycle is a 2002 Italian beauty, and, my bass guitar and amplifier both date from 1981. There are many more things in my life I have found to be reliable, and cherish, and the former are just some of the things that come quickly to mind. The way I see it, either something is a true, necessary technological marvel, or it fits into the category of “They don’t make ‘em like they used to.” Everything in between is just unnecessary fluff.
In an interesting parallel, the exact same scenario occurred with the motorcycling side of my life. One day, I was all gung-ho, totally involved, and the next day nothing, zilch, nada. And, that conclusion, too, was not arrived at overnight. Deadly motorists had a lot to do with that decision, and that is in interesting tie-in, being it is the number-one reason I get fed-up with cycling from time-to-time. The good news is that both activities are now solid components of my life, motorists be-damned.