Hi. My name is Brian and I’m a bike gadget geek. I write the post just a few days after ordering a replacement dynamo charger, which takes the energy produced by my special dynamo front hub, converts it to electricity, and charges USB powered devices. So, I will soon have a replacement gadget to charge my other gadgets. These other gadgets include my Garmin 705 GPS, my USB chargeable headlight, and my iPhone. These all will go on my bike that is fully decked out with racks, fenders, and, well, other gadgets. My family (okay, mainly me) has a virtual stable of bikes…one for every occasion. My personal bikes include a bike each for commuting, touring, racing, and off road riding.
I have ridden for many years with people who purchase the lightest, fastest, strongest, trendiest stuff to help them go faster. I’ve seen carbon fibre seats, ultra light wheels, lightweight inner tubes, and titanium bolt kits. I’ve seen people switch out perfectly good mountain bike tires because it only showered the night before a mountain bike race instead of the full on rain that was forecast.
Is it necessary? No, of course not. I’ve always thought it would be cool to line up Eddie Merckx, Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong (sans drugs), and Jacques Anquetil on Mount Ventoux on identical bicycles, fire the starter pistol, and let them duke it out. Who would be faster if they had the same equipment? Likewise, it would be great to put everyone in the Tour de France on a heavy department store bike and see how they do.
When I worked at Breakaway Bicycles in Portage, MI, my friend and coworker, Bob K., was fond of saying, “It ain’t the farm, it’s the farmer.” Bob didn’t have the lightest bike, and he easily had 15 years on the rest of us college kids, but he not only stayed with us, but he could often outpace us on group rides. His bike wasn’t faster, but he was. He would say the same thing to customers, who were ready to drop $2000 on a new set of wheels that were 200 grams lighter than what they had. Easier to drink 2 less beers each week and do a couple extra hill repeats to achieve the same result.
The point of all this is simply to say that what is most important is the ride itself. I am glad to help lots of my friends discover bicycling, and very glad to help them with their purchases. What’s best, however, is when I learn of people who get their bike out of storage, dust it off, lube up the chain, pump up the tires, and just….ride. You don’t need the latest greatest lightest fastest titaniumest carbonest gadgetiest stuff. You just need to get on your bike.
So, get out there. Ride. If you want to buy someone a new set of wheels or a titanium bolt kit, I’ll gladly take it. But, I’m going to log off now. I have to get ready for my morning bike commute, which will begin at 5:50 am. See you out there!