Some advice. Never trust someone with a clean, unscratched bike when they’re giving you advice about going out on an adventurous ride. This is a rule to lead your life by. Take the word bike – remove it – and install whatever it is you are about to do. Kayak, runners, ice axes, whatever; you get the idea I’m sure. It’s a generic rule for outdoor activities.
I both love and hate the feeling of a new bike. I love having one, the crisp shifting and braking that only comes from a box fresh drivetrain. The look, oh the shiny look, that new colour coat over carbon has. So pretty. And yet, I always look forward to f***ing it up. Making it look lived in.
Bear with me, there is a good reason for this.
A bike should tell a story. It shouldn’t exist merely to be pedalled. It should exist in of itself as an extension of the moments you have had together. It should show, by its scrapes-scratches-scars how it has been out there, faced death but seen life. A clean, scratch-free bike does not do this. It’s experientially lame.
I used to be a whitewater kayaker. Among our group of friends, whenever one of us would get a new boat, it would be a race to see who could put the first gouge into it. Be it me to my own boat, or the others to my new boat by firing it off the roof of the car, down the slope, and into the sharp pointy rocks below. I both loved and hated my boating buddies.
But now, when I see people preen and faun over their mountain, ‘cross, and gravel bikes I want to scream in their faces: These things were made for dirt! Why are you treating them like a Pomeranian, it’s a f***ing Springer Spaniel!
But I don’t, because deep down I know…unless they learn to take the time to learn these experiences, to gouge their own bikes, they’ll never get to the point where they will be someone with tales to tell.
Don’t polish it. Punish it.
Beer of the Week
Life & Death – Vocation Brewing ABV 6.5%
This is Life & Death.
Three kilos of hops and forty kilos of barley selflessly give their lives to brew every barrel of this beer. It’s a lot to ask, but their reincarnation as this life-affirming IPA makes their sacrifice worthwhile.
A ballsy, US style IPA, expect flavours of tropical & citrus fruits, with a lingering bitterness set against a smooth malty backbone.
Odd that I should write a post inspired by a beer for a change. The taste, the feeling that you’re drinking deep from something you won’t always have, the sublime feeling you get after knowing it was worth wile. I can’t fault this beer in anyway. Vocation have done a stunning job, both in cask and in can. It may be a bit local, but if you can find it, try it. Like anything good, you may have to work for it.