Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Bike Fever: objects of desire

Cycling is not just about fitness. Part of the joy/madness of cycling is an obsession with bicycles. I know of no one who is as passionate about running shoes or tennis racquets as cyclists are about their bikes. It is an instant obession as well. As soon as a boy falls in love with cycling, he falls in love with bicycles. And as soon as he falls in love with his first bicycle, it can lead to a lifelong passion for cycling.

Unfortunately, this passion is sometimes like puppy love. It comes on fast, and fades just as quickly. The new bike eventually becomes familar and faded. But, it is also like being a perpetual teenager, there is always another object of obsession right a round the corner, the next new bike, and the condition known as "New Bike Fever"

The biggest lie every cyclists tells his spouse is "this is the last bike I'll ever need/want/buy". It assumes that the bike companies will never come up with a new faster, lighter, stiffer, more aero, longer travel, better geared, more comfortable, bike again. Each and every year the great bicycle making companies put out exactly those new bikes. And every year they make sure we have glossy pictures to drool over like kids at the candy store window.

So the lie of "this is the last..." also assumes that you'll never fall in mad obsessive love with a new bike again. The day I can not fall in love with a new bicycle is the day I should sell them all and take up golf, since it will mean that I no longer have the desire for riding better than I have before now.

Falling in love with a new bicycle is also like puppy love in that is as much about the wanting as the getting. Right now, around the globe, cyclists are planning, plotting, and dreaming about their next new bike. It is February, so much of the cycling world is still confined to the rollers or short rides in tights and booties. The beautiful new bicycle is not meant for harsh conditions like this. No, no. In fact, it probably is not even available yet, or it is on order to be delivered late in the spring, or it is still in boxes. But the anticipation of that new bicycle, the sheer tingly anticipation, is exciting of itself. The fever sets your heart racing. You think of all the wonderful new features, and the places you'll ride, and how fast you'll be able to go. It is always a thrilling fantasy.

But once the buds have bloomed, and the sand has been swept from the streets, and the new bike has been built up, then, then we will ride and ride. And the fever will break. For now.

No comments:

Post a Comment