Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes

I have become obsessed with bikes. Specifically lugged steel frames made before I was born. Have you ever seen one? They're gorgeous bikes built before the time of automated factories and machines that do every joint and weld. Most of them have the initials of their builder pressed into one of their lugs - a sign of pride for that builder. I don't know who "ECS" is, or was, but I know that he built a beautiful red frame. It may have taken him 20 minutes, 2 hours, or 2 days to build this particular bike frame. I really don't know.. I just know that he took enough pride in his work to stamp his name on it for all of history to see. 30 years later I'm writing this post about a bike he made in some unknown city in Taiwan. No one's going to do that about that Huffy you got from Walmart. That bike's going to end up in a landfill.

But I digress.. I'm not writing this post about the politics of bike manufacturers. I'm writing it because I've fallen in love. When I fall in love, I'm not unlike most people. I want everyone to know about my love, understand what it is I see in my love and hopefully, love my love as much as I do. It's no surprise then that I've become the "Bike Doctor" and "Resident Expert" amongst my friends. I'm not going to claim that I deserve those titles; I'm simply enthusiastic about my new hobby and I want to share that enthusiasm.

One of the ways that people let me share my enthusiasm is by asking me for advice on purchasing a new bike. When the first few friends asked me what they should get, I attacked the conversation with fervor and often overwhelmed the audience. Since then I've learned. When it comes to getting into biking, just go buy a bike that you love to ride. Don't over think specs and brands. Don't worry about tubing geometry. You're a beginner. Just simply begin.

Get a used bike. Buy a new bike. Borrow a friend's bike. However you get your hands on some wheels, just do it and join a fun ride. I like www.sjbikeparty.org myself, but there's nothing stopping you from finding a trail and riding today.