I recently ditched my burly cross-country bike in favor of the sleek street bicycle pictured above. I figured since it had been years since I actually did any riding in the woods, the extra weight and money that went into maintaining a bike built for off-road use, while only using it on the road, no longer made sense. So the last time I brought it in for repairs, I told the saleskid to keep it and give me something more appropriate for how I ride. He was more than happy to oblige and set me up with a nice commuter bike.
I love my new bike. Its lightweight design, streamlined tires, and extra gears have actually shaved nearly ten minutes off my daily ride. Plus it’s much more comfortable to ride and easier to maintain. I couldn’t figure out why it took me so long to ditch the old dinosaur I had been lumbering to work on. It had no sentimental value, or even much cash value for that matter. It weighed a ton, required constant repairs, and forced me to work much harder to get where I was going. Buying a new bike seemed like the reasonable and responsible thing to do. So I did.
But I soon I realized that buying that bike was also symbolic of where I am in life. I’ll be forty next month, and apparently at the age where things like comfort and stability override recklessness and daring. My new bike shows that I‘m readying myself for the quiet years where I won’t feel the need for adventure or risk taking. I’ll be choosing paths that get me where I’m going safely and smoothly with minimal effort. My new bike will remind me that life is bumpy enough without seeking out obstacles to overcome. My new bike says that I'm going to be forty and its time to grow up.
Faced with such knowledge and insight, there was only one reasonable thing I could do…
Yes that was me, last Sunday on my new mountain bike, going off a jump and hitting a tree. If life really is downhill from here, I might as well have a bike designed to handle it!
NOTE: Video footage courtesy of Greg D's helmet cam. He cleverly titled the clip "Mike (meets) Wood"