Sunday, June 04, 2006
Ask Big Worm...
Not sure if saggy pants are still cool? Curious about a '29er but don't know all the issues? Want to ask out the girl at the Pizza Place but don't have the smooth moves to step to her?
Rest easy, you can always Ask Big Worm.
Just send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Big Worm,
I often get criticism from my fellow pootle crew riders about the cleanliness of my bike. Although mechanically sound it has a fine veneer of mud and is what I would call Trail decorated. Big Worm, sometimes, their words hurt.What should I do your holy-invertebrate-ness?
I had to think about your question for awhile. Not as long as it took me to get this response out, but awhile. There is more than one school of thought on this subject. I've had racer boys who felt that the bike was simply a tool for crushing the souls of the weak. This group's bikes would be ridden through all types of weather and filth in an effort to stay stronger than the aforementioned weak, so as not to get their own souls crushed!
Their bikes would come into the shop creaking and groaning with every pedal stroke. It seemed as if as long as the bike shifted properly, the rider was happy. Aesthetics be damned! Most were only marginally interested in whether the brakes worked properly, or not. After all, brakes only slow you down! Most of these cats were substantially faster than me, so maybe there was some merit to their arguments.
I, personally, don't fit in with this group. I always tried to keep my rides clean, within reason of course. I mean a mountain bike or 'cross bike, used properly, will get filthy. I used to claim I kept my rigs clean because I was mechanic. And if my bikes looked like hell, how was a customer going to trust me to take good care of their pride and joy? The other day I realized that wasn't so true. I found myself ditching one of my usual road rides because of inclimate weather. I just couldn't bring myself to trash that beautiful road bike, riding in rain. It wasn't so much the thought of the maintenance that I'd have to do afterwards, as much as it was that it just didn't feel like the right thing to do. You see, my bikes have taken me to many places and through many experiences that I never would have found in any other way. So dragging my road bike through all that water and grime would have felt like an insult. Now, had it been one of my mountain bikes or maybe the 'cross bike, I probably would have been out slopping through the mud with the best of them. See, each bike has it's own personality. Some prefer to be sleek, fast, and pristine, like my road bike. Others are more at home cruising quiet back roads in search of another unknown dirt road to yet another adventure. And some simply prefer to be challenged by anything mother nature can throw at them, in terms of weather and/or trail style.
Now that I've spent enough time sound like some kind of sappy bike sissy, let's get back to the point! To answer your question Fat Lad, you have to ask yourself two questions.
1) Is your bike a tool or a partner?
2) Is your bike happy with it's trail decorations? (If your bike get's you out and back again
reliably, and isn't constantly leaving you in a lurch, cool! Keep doing what you're doing. I know I've seen more than one butch bruiser of a ride that preferred to show it's trail scars, while performing flawlessly.)
In the mean time, keep your front and rear mechs properly adjusted, put the front brake lever back on the proper side of the bar, and pootle to your heart's content!
Why? 'Cause BIGWORM says!
Fat Lad can be found taunting the whole pootle crew at www.bigalspace.co.uk/fatlad/