I’ve got a bit of a problem, man. I love my trusty steel hardtail, but I’ve been getting a bad case of buyer’s lust lately, what with all these flash new trail bikes being released. There’s nothing wrong with my steed, and we’ve shared some great moments together, but the grass sure does look greener over there. I'm thinking about doing it.
What do you reckon?
Hell, I know the feeling.
We have a tendency, as simple humans, to constantly measure our position against the next greatest thing. New temptations promise to deliver us from tedium, and enrich the fabric of our lives. We labour under the illusion that we are constantly improving. And new things breathe a cold but convincing life into that fantasy.
But this is necessary, because who would admit that they peaked some time ago?
In this sense, that latest and greatest product acts as a proxy for legitimate change. We might be dissatisfied with how good we are at riding, and we might aspire to be as good as someone we’ve just seen on a video. If we’re being honest most of us probably lack the substance, but if we buy the product maybe we can be like the rider.
It’s important for us to remember that the bike is a means to an end, and not the end in itself. People become obsessive with trends and with appearances, and forget that the reason we have a bike is to taste the world – to snatch in a few hungry gulps before it’s plucked out from under us.
The world won’t stop spinning and the dusty ribbon won’t tumble into the abyss because your stanchions are the "wrong diameter" and your hub is "too narrow". These things, when set against the bigger pursuit, are specks. As you carve the trail, they are the pebble hurled into the bush and the cloud lifting away to burn against the sun.
That’s not to say, of course, that your bike doesn’t matter at all. I wouldn’t relegate us all to clunkers simply because they can get down the trails. But when it’s said and done, and we’re taking stock of this hobby of ours, it’d do us a world of good to spend a moment thinking about why we’re here in the first place.
If it’s simply to buy new shit, you might as well take up triathlon.
Yours in ordinary love,
If you need some life and/or love advice, have a burning relationship issue or just want to know about the birds and the bees, email Leonard then sit back and wait for the knowledge to set you free.