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Friday, August 19, 2005
By Ed W

There are a number of magazines devoted to various aspects of cycling. They cover mountain biking, racing, and touring, with lots of articles highlighting the latest equipment. And they’re undoubtedly entertaining, but their main intent is to sell you more stuff.

Likewise, there are various blogs, email lists, and web sites that focus on racing, legalities, or practices. I’m thinking of Cycling News, bicyclingadvocacy, Chainguard, and others. Honestly, these guys can cover the details of the latest advance in tire technology far better than I can. They write with knowledge and authority about the legal challenges to bicycle access on our roads, and their knowledge is far in excess of anything I could hope to achieve.

So my focus isn’t on the technical details, racing gossip, or plush tours in heartbreakingly beautiful landscapes. Instead, I try to write about the simple fun of riding a bike, and I love to write about the humor that generates. When it happens, there may not be anything funny about having a flat tire in a pouring rain, but given a little time, it can make for a great story. Given that flats are a common occurrence for all of us, a story may make the task a little easier.

“Hey!” the stranded cyclist thinks, “Ed wrote a story about having a flat in similar conditions. I just hope that I’m not attacked by wolverines too!”

I never lie, of course.

I don’t care whether you ride a road bike, a comfort bike, a hybrid, or a mountain bike. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retrogrouch, commuter, tourist, or a New-Age trendie on a fixed gear. To be fair, I have to admit that I have limited (but painfully funny!) experience with mountain biking. Mostly, I’ve been a roadie for better than 30 years. Old dogs and new tricks, you know.

It’s the ride that matters, not the kind of bike, the frame material, or whether it has alloy or brass spoke nipples. This is about fun, the simple fun that comes from moving under your own power. It’s about feeling like a kid again, and that’s something precious that too many of us have lost.

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