Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Parts is Parts

Bikers are tech-dorks.

There, I said it.

We obsess about grams, tooth-count, alloy material, and tire psi so much that our significant others sometimes question whether or not our love for all things two-wheeled as being above and beyond more important subjects, like, ya know, humans.

Still, much as we may worry about the butting profile of our spokes and bearing quality of our headsets, there's always something to be said for just duct-taping some shit together in the woods, throwing caution to the wind, and just say screw it. Such was the result of my mountain bike ride last Saturday at the SMBA trails north of Albany in Saratoga Springs.

Luckily for me the Ferrous wasn't the victim: as hard as NY trails seem to be on bikes, I've yet to experience any serious failures. I have seen the trails eat parts, clothes, frames, skin, and one collar bone, but I've thus far avoided any real setbacks. Not so my riding partners.

The SMBA trails are akin to a cross between New Light (circa 2003) and Rocky Road, all multiplied by a factor of two: there are lots of different trails, each with its own character and charm, but all strewn with chunky rocks and nothing below 'intermediate' level. These aren't fast trails, for while there isn't much elevation change, they are tight and tech-heavy.

They also eat things. Like skin. And seats.

Brian has kindly let me tag along on a couple rides, some of which lead to disaster, and others to tomfoolery, but none of which have been boring. This last Saturday promised to be an easy two-hour ride with a couple folks, with our tour guide avoiding the rockier trails of the system for the easier ones. We may have hit those, but the difference was negligible. And two hours was more like three, but for a Brian-led expedition that's basically on time.

Most amusing was how Brian decided to rock the ride: after going over the bars maybe two minutes into the trails, scraping himself up and knocking his seat off its rails, he proceeded to finish the ride on some sort of McGrubered-up contraption that looked more like a sex toy than a bike part.

This is that Yankee ingenuity that we hear so much about. At one point I think all six of us were crowded around giving advice on how to best 'fix' his seat with zip-ties, duct-tape, and voodoo.

Needless to say my humanities-educated self stepped aside and let the engineers tackle the matter, as they seemed more competent. Taking the time to reflect quietly on my Walden-like surroundings, I decided my fluffy English-major self would set the moment to verse:

I think that I shall never see
A seat as lovely as B.P.'s:
It's long and black and fits his crack
Just like a glove, or my head its hat.
I think it's sad he's lost his saddle
For now the post his ass must battle
And as we ride this rocky trail
I'm certain it must quite bruise his tail.

The remainder of the ride involved a series of spills, dabs, and near-misses, but since I didn't have my camera to capture them it's basically like they didn't happen. (Or so I learned from the Bones Brigade.) We were all able to finish the ride, though, even Brian, despite being French-tickled all the way home.

This was only my third mountain bike ride of the year and it was good to kick around in the dirt some. I'm learning pretty quickly that lack of practice does not do the body good, that the northeast does have mosquitoes, and that age does not make me wiser or more nimble. Alas and alack. Here's hoping that my future rides are a little more mundane and less abusive.

I hope things are going well down in the Tarheel state!


felonious said...

It's great to have Pirate's poetics back on the blog. Welcome back.

hollywood said...

Ouch and more ouch and quite poetic indeed. Perfect pirate poetic passage.

curveship said...

Whose seat this is I think I know.
His ass is filled with seatpost. D'oh!
He will not mind my laughing fits
to watch him curse his mother so.

He'll tape it on until it fits,
And check he hasn't lost his bits,
And miles to go before he sits,
And miles to go before he sits.

DukePirate said...

The ol' Bobbie Frost would approve, I believe -- very nice!