|Our 2014 steel SEVEN bicycles loaded with gear posing in the dune grass of Gilson Park|
I must confess, I LOVE bikes as well as maps. That, I suppose, is a good thing when you dream of being a bicycle tourist. Loving bikes also means KNOWING bikes, understanding how and why they work, always wanting to know more. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a techno-freak about most things. Won't spend hours and hours researching the ins and outs of computers, or cars or even programable calculators (sorry inside joke). For most equipment in my life I'm perfectly content assuming that its going to function or calling in the experts when it doesn't. There is no urge within me to actually understand the inner workings or the mind of the inanimate objects in my life - EXCEPT when it comes to bicycles.
An Affair Begun Decades Ago
|My 1980 Proteus - now red and decked out for our |
2014 self-supported ride to Door County
Simple and Complex at the Same Time
I also love bikes because of the yin and yang of their simultaneous simplicity and complexity. Bikes are simple say when compared to cars. A few parts, a human motor and you're off. Put in enough fuel in the form of food and water and you can go for days. Yet, on closer inspection bikes are ever so complex. As I'm fond of saying, they're a game of millimeters. The smallest adjustment changes everything. Move your saddle up a smidge and your back hurts; your handle bars forward and the pain stops. Make a small adjustment to a spoke or two and a wobbly wheel come true. Understanding all this can take a life time and consume endless hours of conversation over coffee or beer. Tinkering becomes the past time of the real enthusiast.
And that's how someone like me, who's passionate about human history and culture gets sucked into the science of ball bearings. You never know Frodo where that road is going to take you.