Now is the time of year when I fiddle around with the parts and components on my bike. The main justification for this fiddling about is to somehow piece together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that depicts me, with bike lifted overhead, set against a halo of clouds while my vanquished foes languish in agony at my feet (when I finally get my custom van, my first order of business will be to get this tableaux airbrushed upon the side). I am on a quest for the perfect combination of adjustments, twists and jiggles that will make my bike nearly propel itself—but there is also another reason for all of this fiddling about—to stave off the soul crushing boredom of riding day in and day out.
You see, riding day after day tends to get a bit repetitive. I am pretty sure I’ve done rides over some of my more well-worn routes in a mild to complete trace-like state—but trodding over familiar territory has its merits. There’s comfort in routine. Studies have shown that when people are engaged in behaviors that have become part of their daily routine (a morning shower, teeth brushing, slowly devouring an entire ham—for my foreign readers, this is a common daily American activity—ask anyone at a theme park) their brain activity slows, as if their minds are in cruise control. Their minds are literally saving energy while they go about their day. This doesn’t mean that we are all tooth-brushing, ham-chewing zombis though—there’s a reason why so many people get ideas while in the shower—while their minds are in the tractor beam of routine, they have more energy to think creatively. Then can even come up with revelations like an extended description of the type of airbrushed mural they would like on their imaginary custom crime fighting van (for future reference, any mention of vans automatically implies the use of said van for traveling the country fighting crimes and righting wrongs). As you can see, routine can be a powerful thing.
But routine can also quickly turn into drudgery, that’s why I like to mess about with my equipment (not an euphemism). I slid my saddle forward a few days back, and that centimeter’s worth of butt movement has been novelty enough to keep me occupied for the last five days—which is testament to both the importance of bike fit and the sad, sad definition of what constitutes “excitement” to a bike racer. I have been riding for hours, mulling my backside
and enjoying it—isn’t that what cycling is all about?
But alas, the novelty of my butt nudging will soon wear off, and I will need to find other ways to occupy myself. I have my eyes on three sets of gloves that I feel will be game-changers for the temperature ranges of 40-50, 40-30 and 20-30 degrees, respectively. And—oh dear God—that is a desperately pathetic series of words I’ve just typed—I may have to resort to more butt nudging to keep this winter interesting.