I’m a cyclist to the core. There were years where my mileage was less than 1000km (600mi) for the entire year, but I still believed myself to be a cyclist. Mainly because even at my lowest times, a bike ride has always helped me. It’s my therapy.
Here’s an example. Over a 6 week period in August/September 1997 my father died, Princess Diana died (don’t laugh, everyone loved her), my wife miscarried and one of my best friends suicided. There isn’t a word to describe how low I felt during that period. I rode my bike more in the 3 months around that time than I had in the previous 5 years. Some people take up new hobbies like professional drinking. Me? Just fresh air and silence.
And now that I’m riding my bike again, it’s time to tidy up the stable a little bit. I wrote about my bikes some time back. If you want the whole story, here you go. If not, just cruise along and the important bits will be revisited.
I’ve got a red road bike. I’ve got a red fixie. (maybe you should click that link after all) My track bike was sky blue. And scratched. A lot. I don’t take great care of most things. They have a purpose and I put them to that purpose and I put them away again. If something needs fixing it gets fixed. I don’t wrap my bikes in cotton wool when I transport them.
In 1989 my original track bike was 4 seasons old and had endured several big, big crashes. I arranged for a new frame to be custom built. That sky blue frame became mine a few weeks after (luckily) the ambulance ride. I sold off the old one and never heard from the guy again. I don’t know if the bike killed him or if he moved interstate.
Recently at the velodrome I bumped into the fellow who custom made my blue track frame. He was impressed to see that it was still in service. Perhaps a little less so after I explained that it had hung in the garage for 15 years. I had loaned him a track chainring a couple of years earlier and he offered to convert my track bike from the old style wedge head stem to A-head. I wondered out loud about matching 15 year old paint and suggested that he respray the whole thing while he was at it. He agreed and I only had to pay for the paint, labour was bartered off against the chainring.
So I got to work swapping parts around on my other 2 bikes and bought a few extra bits. Seats and pedals mostly. In the long term, having 3 bikes with 3 different pedal systems was going to be frustrating and expensive. So now the road bike and fixie have Look KEO Sprint pedals (in red of course) and the track bike has Look KEO Carbon pedals. The track bike is back from the doctors after a nose transplant and a derma-peel.
But the most important part of the transformation is…
The track bike now conforms to the red theme of my stable.
It’s very red. No, they don’t make KEO Carbon pedals in red otherwise I’d have them. Yes, I have red tyres for it. As soon as the ones that are on it are gone, red it is.
Better red than dead. In the nicest possible way.