Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Relationship With A Bike And Another Bike*

Something funny happened the day after Knoxville Double: my relationship with the Colnago changed.  As described enthusiastically in the September 21, 2010 post, I was infatuated with the Colnago.  Comfortable, light, fast, and agile it was everything one could have asked for in a bike.  Then came Knoxville Double -- a test of my relationship with the bike.  The first half of the ride was wonderful, but then my legs started cramping and an extended period of mild digestive distress came on.  Then, the front derailleur came loose, leaving me with three usable gears in the big ring and five in the small ring.  Eight gears were plenty, but no longer was everything perfect with the bike and not everything was perfect with me on the bike.  The next morning I discovered that the rear tire was flat due to a slow leak -- another blemish.

The bloom was off the rose.  I turned to my Spectrum.  I'd re-wrapped the bars with red tape instead of white, and with a red saddle and red paint accent on the frame, the red really pops.  The bike looks lively and lovely.  I put about 100 miles on it in a week.  It rode great.  It climbs very nicely, descends confidently, and is stable and predictable.  The Colnago sat in the garage, its front derailleur still askew and the rear tire still flat.  I adjusted the derailleur and fixed the flat.  After a short ride, I realized that the derailleur needed further adjustment.  More fiddling and all 20 gears were again available for use, so I rode another 20 miles.  And you know what, it rides really, really nicely, but the feeling of infatuation of the first month, when I rode it exclusively at Spectrum's expense, was gone.  All of which got me to thinking.

[At the risk of angering my wife, I will now engage in an anthropomorphic exercise of imagination]

It seems to me, my relationship with these bikes is like relationships a man could have with women.  A married man with a dependable wife (Spectrum).  She works hard at work and at home, cooks, parents.  All this goes on for years and the man gradually, imperceptibly begins to take her for granted and starts to cast about a wondering eye.  Just then, this hot Italian number (Colnago) presents herself.  They enjoy a whirlwind romance.  Everything is perfect.  He is infatuated.  The wife (Spectrum) doesn't know or doesn't mind.

This goes on marvelously for a while.  Then, this extramarital relationship encounters an obstacle, a test, a double century.  So, what happens?  He cramps and burps, she flats and is undergeared.  The relationship survives the test, but things aren't perfect, as they were earlier.  He goes back to the wife repentantly and she takes him back.  He looks at her in a new light and appreciates all she has to offer in ways he had not done in a long, long time.  He pledges his undying devotion to her again.  Occasionally, he still dabbles with his girlfriend.  They still get along, but their relationship has been irrevocably changed.  They both know it.  At least he knows and she suspects it in her inanimate way.

P.S. Discovered a few days ago that the front derailleur issue from Knoxville Double resulted in the girlfriend's big chainring breaking two teeth.  In a stroke of anthropomorphic brilliance, can't you just visualize that?  After the first altercation, the girlfriend has two broken teeth.  Delicious!  Putting caps on her broken teeth this evening by replacing the chainring.  That's all the dental work I'm qualified to perform.

* Disclaimer: I do not have a girlfriend and I have not had a girlfriend since 1991, when my then-girlfriend became my fiancee, to whom I've been very happily married since 1992.  Nor am I looking for a girlfriend.  All my extramarital relationships are with bicycles, which may be illegal in a number of states.


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