I’m bad at bike maintenance. (I like to start these newsletters with honesty and introspection, haha)
I mean, I know how. I used to have a bike shop ; ) I actually like re-packing bearings, cleaning and preserving the various components that make my bike work well. But, despite that, each bicycle I own has had a hard life.
Whenever someone sees the gnarly patina all of bikes possess, I always joke: “it’s a tool, not a jewel”.
Sure, my passion for frames built by builders that I personally know + working in the industry off and on for nearly 15 years means that I have some fancy bikes with fancy bits. Hell, each builder (looking at you Sacha from Vanilla, Aaron of 611, Jordan Hufnagel, Lester of Lester Cycles, and Stephen Bilenky), has been thrilled about the wild stuff I’ve done with the frames they’ve built. After all, these tubes were welded to get radical not hang on a wall because it’s too valuable. (…ok, brazed, I know, but ‘welded’ sounded cooler, though the temperature to braze is actually lower when welding but I digress)
Do my bikes (or yours?) deserve meticulous maintenance (maybe!) or is there an honour in being used & abused, rusted and busted from travels across countries, cultures, countless terrains and even everyday not even that arduous endeavours? Be it bikepacking, track racing, crits, gravel riding, commuting or just being repeatedly packed for flights for going on 8 years like my 611, I always bring my bike and I’ve been always glad that I did.
This article uses the phrase
about a camera being a tool and not a jewel and similarly, had I not had the same philosophy about my bikes, there are countless moments that I would have missed, friendships never made and a life never lived. I’m grateful but you’re thinking #yourbikehatesyou
, I know.
So as we all cope with the heavy atmosphere of doom & gloom permeating our daily lives, I’m simply saying: try to remember what is a tool and not actually a jewel. Could be anything you own, put it to use! Well worn is always better than lazy! ; )
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a great weekend ahead,