Friday, March 13, 2015

the bicycle industry hates me: shrinking the mountain o' things

As my career transition has progressed, there have been, of course, fits and starts -- enough of them that I have submitted my bicycle resume to two shops in Portland and may offer it up to a third if I cannot land any musical work beyond June.

In the meantime, I have been inning the pile of stuff that I've accumulated over twenty years in the industry and am slowly selling it off (or, as my partner likes to say, "schnorring" for money). And as I've been going throu all this stuff and assessing each piece for its potential usefulness in my life, I am amazed to find that I really don't need most of it anymore.

Sure, I need my tools as long as I fix bikes for others, and I need to keep a supply of frreewheels on hand to ensure that my bikes will have parts for some time to come. But specialty bicycle clothing? Not so much. I will be selling off the last of my lycra this spring, because I simply never wear it anymore. Same with the cycling shoes; if I ride with flat pedals I don't need anything more ambitious than sneakers. Right now, I go back and forth between just two bikes. When I need to haul stuff, I have an old beat-up trailer that folds flat for storing. I can carry most smaller things in a transverse saddlebag, so away go the panniers. In short, I have been in a process of letting go of bicycle fantasies that carry less and less potential of coming true -- and I find that I am okay with letting them go. The fact that I won't ever do the solo cross-country tour I'd dreamed of since I was a teenager no longer saddens me. If time and finances allow, I'll take a fully-supported B & B tour with others, and enjoy it. For now, my music career means that most of my rides are very local, and I have learned to enjoy the ride for itself, rather than to lament that my ambition is somehow out of sync with my life. Because these days, that seems to be less so.

One of the nice by-products of coming to these conclusions is that I no longer feel a need to buy anything new and "up-to-date" for my bicycles, both of which were cobbled together from spare parts and which run friction shifting and 5- or 6-speed freewheels. So I'm confident that the people who run the bicycle industry are no fans of mine.


I'll be tossing more of my unneeded bicycle bits up on ebay and craigslist very soon. Today, I'm going to ride my bicycle and enjoy the new spring flowers blooming along Dekum Street.
Happy riding!

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