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I need a bicycle like a fish needs…um…some mode of transportation faster than walking

1 October, 2008 (07:54) | hitch | By: hitch

Memo to cyclists I talk to about bicycles:
When I say “I’d really like a faster bike”, that means that I’d like to discuss what bikes are good, the relative merits of various bike manufacturers, parts that are important to pay attention to, etc.
It does not mean that I want to be told that, if you gave Lance Armstrong my bike and gave me his, he would still proceed to trounce my butt in a race.
No Way! Years of training, dedication, and persistence combined with a love for your sport and a never-say-die attitude result in excellence? Who knew?

Here’s the thing, though – I’m not racing Lance Armstrong. I am not, in fact, racing. I am commuting – and, occasionally, though not as often as I’d like, I ride for fun on the weekends.

On the first occasion, I have a set distance I have to go that I’d like to complete in as short a time as possible. Even Lance Armstrong can complete set distances in less time on faster bikes. Imagine that. I suspect that if that were not the case, there wouldn’t be any such thing as road bikes. (for the record, I have a hybrid. so it’s not a matter of shaving off grams, it’s a matter of a completely different style of frame and configuration, designed for speed rather than an ability to go just about anywhere*)

On the second, I want to be able to go as far as possible in a set time, so that I can see as much as I can see, go new and interesting places, etc. Again, while increased physical prowess will assist with that, combining it with a significantly faster bike will help too.

Finally, and this is the really important thing, if you were to go speak to Mr. Armstrong and say “Hey, we want you to go race some guy. You can either choose this low-to-mid-range hybrid over here or this nice mid-range road bike” I strongly suspect he’d choose the road bike. Not to do so would be called “grandstanding” and it’s what lost the Hare his race against the Tortoise.

Remember, kids. Slow and steady only wins the race against the fast when the fast are also incompetent. If the Hare hadn’t been cocky and arrogant, he’d have beat the Tortoise hands down. Unfortunately, he ended up throwing the race and was later made into fricasse by Guido and Tony for completely blowing their numbers in the side-bets.

*And as with all things that do everything, they don’t do anything as well as something designed explicitly for one purpose.

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