For a couple of months now I've had the privilege of being able to ride two different bicycles.
Well, not so different in that they are of the same type, road bikes, although they differ in size.
In this case size matters, but not how you may think, both bicycles are set up similarly, as close as I could make them.
One has a compact crank, the other a regular, one has 170mm arms, the other 172.5.
Rear cassettes are the same, 12-25s, and the while the wheels are close, one set is definitely lighter.
What does all this mean?
Nothing much, yet at the same time it adds up to a lot.
I mean there are so many variables in what makes a bicycle, I've decided that trying to compare these two are near impossible.
Oh, there are differences in the way they ride.
Don't get me wrong.
It's just that trying to figure out what makes these differences apparent is pretty darn near impossible.
I could be this, it could be that, it could be this and that or even possibly that other thing.
If you know what I mean.
So I figure I'll just ride them and take all these differences at face value.
One bike rides light, the other heavy despite having very similar weights.
Both handle well while one tends to oversteer a bit more, a trait I sort of like.
I have to admit though, I haven't really gotten to the point of liking one bicycle over the other.
I also don't have any problem choosing which bicycle I'm going to ride.
I don't think I take one out more than the other, not consciously anyways.
Which brings me to the unconscious part.
What exactly makes me select one bicycle over the other?
It's not really the "feel" of the bicycles, I mean I know how they feel.
Sort of a sense memory thing don't you know.
One bicycle doesn't feel better than the other.
Well okay, I sort of like one bicycle a little better but not enough to discourage me from riding the other.
I just sort of get bicycled up, choose one and roll on out the door.
I think it's because I'm still an inexperienced road cyclist.
I don't know enough about what I'm doing to really make an educated decision about what works and what doesn't.
This worries me.
I mean I'm still learning, and that's important.
It's not like I'm going out oblivious to the subtle differences between these two bicycles, I know what they are and try to see and feel how they affect me.
Sometimes it's difficult, for sensing these things is not very intuitive for me.
Especially after seeing how counter intuitive changes(like moving the seat back) can lead to positive results.
I never would have believed it if I hadn't tried it out myself.
Fortunately/unfortunately I am not afraid to try new things but trying new things does get a bit much.
Still, you never know until you try and the rewards are the surprises you get from things you never thought possible.
So I am going to try the impossible.
I have decided that once a week, I am going to go out on one of my bicycles and not think about all of the above and just ride.
I'm going to flip that Prevaricating Garmin under my bars and not worry about cadence, speed or heart rate.
Of course I'll look at the stats when I get back home; just can't go cold turkey don't you know.
The idea here is to not pay attention to the ride, but to what I'm riding.
I mean I know my route pretty well, to the tenth of a mile even, so the computer is not really needed.
I just want to feel my bicycles and try and discover what they mean to me.
So much of my ride is spent worrying about keeping up a certain speed or cadence to tell you the truth I sometimes forget about the machine under me.
Half the time I'm so worried about my heart exploding that I forget to enjoy my ride.
My ride being the bicycle.
I mean I should enjoy my bicycle, non?
If the bicycle wasn't part of the experience, then wouldn't just any bicycle do?
I should be just as satisfied a huffing and a puffing on a Denali just as I would on any other bike if the bicycle wasn't part of it.
So off I go!
On a Flat Tire Quest for Bicycling Zen(FTQFCZ).
To find my bicycle(s).
Totally not related to the Flat Tire Quest for Cycling Zen and Cleat Placement(FTQFCZACP).
Maybe related to the Flat Tire Quest for Cycling Zen and Okole Comfort(FTQFCZAOC).
If you know what I mean.