Spoke Magazine

Just Riding Along

Posted by pieter on Wednesday November 28 2012

I was Just Riding Along (JRA) Transient on Polhill, Wellington with a couple of mates on Saturday evening. I was near the top, and was cruising around one of those long, slightly off-camber right hand corners that are slightly blind and you shouldn’t go too fast around because you could crash into someone; and then I just fell over. I got straight up and before I could start laughing at the stupidness of the crash, I looked down at my arm and I had cut myself and saw white flesh (later on I found out that a cut that deep is a laceration and the white flesh is called connective tissue). I decided in the moment that the best thing to do is ride out and not stop often like we normally do. This was an excellent idea and was one of the best runs down Transient, to the point where I managed to do a nose manual turn, just like Fabien Barel, around a tight corner and even had a little exit speed. FUN! I finished up the run, jumped into the car and went to the After Hours Doctor.

As I lay in the consulting room waiting for the doctor, I started to think about how I was actually JRA and when was the last time I had heard a JRA story in the bike shop. For you that don’t know, JRA is how all good stories start when a customer generally wants warranty or something for free. It makes it sound more innocent and definitely not extreme when you lead with I was just riding along...

I started to wrack my brains for a story and it occurred to me it was probably when I was working at Penny Cycles (Christchurch) back in 2006. I could try to tell one but they’ve all blended together as one big lie, which they probably were. I just have an image of a guy in a sling, looking cut up with the front end of his bike snapped in two saying “I was just riding along and…”

Bikes don’t break like they used to and this is why we don’t hear as many JRA stories. Bike manufacturing has improved no end and if the web edits are anything to go by these days, it’s no wonder bikes aren’t breaking. Every bike manufacturer that wants any credibility is releasing web edits on what goes into making their products the strongest, the lightest, and the best to ride. The big thing in these edits is the testing, and having a frame in a machine that gently tries to snap it with pulsating weights is a must and we’ve been led to believe that this simulates riding. Also having some current and retired riders giving feedback on how well it rides makes us feel like it must be good and we can then ride like them.

The Giant Trance X 29er hits the nail on the head with testing, rider input and nice mix of tech shots and riding shots. But in saying that you do lose some credibility if you talk about how your bike can handle rough terrain and then all the shots are on the buffest singletrack I’ve ever seen.

The Specialized edit for their new Roval wheels backs up my theory that a web edit should be as close to 3 minutes as possible; it does lack information on why they are the best and how Beedless works. But when you have a montage of guys smashing 29er wheels and doing lots of skids who cares about tech… I guess. (Spoke posted the video not long ago.)

Devinci Bikes isn’t that big in New Zealand but the way their web edits are going maybe we’ll see more of them. This edit has everything: a sexy carbon bike, little tech, some good riding and even a little story of a Canadian Boy winning three races that no one really cares about…

If you want lots of tech, here’s eight minutes of Dave Weagle.

As I was getting stitched up and being told I’ll probably be off my bike for the next three to four weeks depending on how infected it gets, I started to think after all these years of mountain biking I shouldn’t just break whenever I just fall over. (Trust me, I wish I was going fast and hit some massive jump and smashed into some tree, that way I’d have a much better story about how I lacerated my arm). If my mountain bike just broke because it fell over I’d want warranty, therefore I want warranty on my arm! It’s clearly defective and must have been a manufacturing fault. Of course I don’t have proof of purchase and if I did it was probably lost years ago. Instead it costs me $86 to get stitched up and another $60 two days later to get it checked and get some antibiotics. What annoys me the most, is those elbow pads aren’t looking too expensive now. Drats.

  • Velocipedestrian

    Bugger!
    The pads that are light, comfy and you wear every ride protect you much better than the big serious ones you only pull out of your pile of bike crap for shuttle days…
    $146 could probably get you some of the first sort.