There’s no such thing as perfect

mari lezhava

There’s a thing that happens with bikes.  I’m sure it happens with other things too.  It’s a never ending quest for the perfect (fill in the blank).

If a bike comes out and it has feature X, it should have had feature Y.  Maybe it should have had X, and Y.  If it takes this size tire, it should have taken that size tire.  You get the idea.  It’s a constant second guessing and thinking that “if they had just done……this, it would be PERFECT“.

Well, I’ve got sour news.  There is no perfect.  It’s pretty hard for a thing, no matter what it is, to be perfect.  Things are designed by people, and people are imperfect.  Gloriously imperfect.  Expecting perfection can be a one way trip to disappointment.

What a thing, like a bicycle, can do is provide an experience. An experience, in my opinion, certainly can be perfect.  I love my bikes. I’ve tweaked them, changed them, sold some and bought others.  Each and every one, each incarnation has allowed me to have wonderful experiences.

When we focus on the thing, and not the experience, we run the risk of losing something quite special.

Ride on.

Chris

 

 

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Social before social media

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Social media is a marvel.  I think saying “social” isn’t even relevant.  It’s just media.  There has never been so much information available, literally at the tip of your finger.  It’s provided a way to either reach out, or stay in touch.  In the blink of an eye it has changed the way we live our lives.  I’m using it to “talk” to you right now.

All of this hasn’t come without cost.  We are more disconnected, impatient, self involved and more likely to be just down right mean to people.  We seem to be at our worst with people we don’t even know.

I have no illusions that we will be magically transported back to a time when we were more civil.  A time when we said “good morning” to total strangers.  A time when you looked someone in the eye when you spoke, or shook hands.  My hope is that we can come back to some sort of balance.  I’m going to start by, sometimes, trying to have a conversation instead of just sending a text message (A friend did this to wish me a happy birthday.   It made me realize that I could take an extra minute or two for people that are important to me).

I spend a fair amount of time thinking about music.  How for a very long time playing, and sharing music was how we entertained ourselves.  It was how stories were passed down.  All of this happened on your front porch, not in your “news” feed.  These stories have survived because they are about people.  Real people that had real experiences.

Dan Carlin has two very successful podcasts.  He believes that we may be entering into a new “golden age” of storytelling.  I don’t disagree.  My concern is that if we stop talking to each other there won’t be any stories left to tell.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Embracing the new without throwing out the old.

I’ve spent the better part of the last decade trying to fend off the onslaught of technology that has bombarded the bike industry.  Constant “improvements” that add varying degrees of enjoyment for the end user.  Sometimes, like in any other industry, we see change merely for the sake of change.  It makes me crazy.  However, with a recent bike build I employed some features that, while not brand new, I had previously eschewed.  I’m warming to the idea that all new things are not necessarily bad.  Radical, huh?

We’re at an interesting point with regards to bicycle technology.  Like with any tech, things happen pretty quickly, but not all  “improvements” lend themselves to a better overall riding experience.  My biggest complaint is that this new tech makes the bicycle, which by it’s very nature is a very uncomplicated machine, much more difficult to work on.  When professional mechanics struggle what hope does the home mechanic have?  I think if what “we” (as an industry) really want is more people using bikes, shouldn’t those bikes be a simple and straightforward as reasonably possible?

Now, you have to understand I’m not talking about recreational “bike path” bikes.  Those bikes are straight forward, easy to ride and easy to maintain.  I’m talking about bikes ridden by more……enthusiastic riders (I refuse to use the word “serious”.  Why would anyone-save for someone making their living on a bike-be serious about something that should be so enjoyable and care free?).

The touring bikes that I ride, and sell have historically been the epitome of a bicycle that is functional, durable and straight forward with regards to design.  What I started to notice a year or so ago was “newfangled” tech creeping into my precious touring bikes!  The horror.

As I started to build a new bike this year I started to think about adding some of these new features.  Things like a 1x drivetrain have allowed me to ditch my front derailleur.  Tubeless tires make the big tires I ride, ride even better.   Finally, disc brakes allow me not only better stopping power, but more flexibility in tire selection.  There were challenges here and there, but I shouldn’t have been surprised that everything worked just the way I expected.  Have no fear, there are plenty of old things on this bike (least of which is the rider!).  It is, to me, the ideal mix of old and new tech.  It employs classic touring gear while borrowing from current mountain bike, and bike packing gear.

Keep one foot firmly planted in the past, while exploring whats new and embracing what works for you.  I like it.  I’m sure there are more aspects of life where this strategy can be employed.  I look forward to further epiphanies.

Below is a picture of said bike.

Thanks for reading.

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When did everyone become so sure?

Of themselves, of their opinions, of their “facts”.  When did this happen?

I guess the answer is we’ve always been sure of our own postions.  What’s changed is the exclusion of those who have different opinions than our own.

Disagreement is fine.  Debate is healthy.  As long as we can still be friends when the discussion is over.  I wonder if that’s possible anymore.

People have the ablitly to be “heard” on a scale that we’ve never before experienced (this missive is just one example).  However, just because you can say something, doesn’t always mean you should.  I’ve never forgotten something I learned in my first speech class.  Once you say something, it can never be taken back.  Think first, then speak (or type as the case may be).  Just be nice to each other.