Are You a Picky Rider?

A recent (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, since it happened almost a year ago) Pinkbike poll asked a really interesting question, I thought: how picky are you, with regards to your bike’s setup? It was one of the few times I’ve been there and actually had to stop and think about my answer a bit – I mean, where would you rank yourself? Are you super picky, needing to go over every inch of your machine with a fine-toothed comb (or toothbrush, if we’re going to be appropriately metaphorical) before and after every ride? Or, maybe you’re the guy that, as Mike at Pinkbike wrote, doesn’t bother fiddling because you’re just so damn happy to get out and get on?

Somehow or other, I manage to fall into both categories. Aright, fine, it’s not some huge mystery, I know exactly how I manage to fit both. You see, I happen to have a particular affliction that happens to strike quite a few of the twenty-somethings these days, particularly those that are trying to balance university with work and something of a life. What disease could it be, you ask? Well, to use my father’s words, my “give-a-shit is broken.” My slightly (exceptionally) more politically correct grandmother used to say I was Terminally Lazy. Pick what you will.

See, the thing is, I love my bikes. Other than my dog, there’s nothing I spend as much time with or money on than my bikes. That means that, when I’m actively and regularly riding, I spend anywhere from 5 to 15 hours a week tinkering and fiddling and tweaking (though I will admit that my cleaning strategy for anything that doesn’t move is “wait a couple days until it’s dry enough to flake off”). On the flip side of that, though, I’ve definitely had a few more rides than I should have where I thought to myself “man, that chain sure is loud! I should probably clean it out when I get home.” Sometimes that happens for three or four rides in a row, where I’ll just do the bare minimum hose-off-load-up at the end of the trail and not worry about the finer points.

Yeah, most of the time I would say the work is worth it. I’m definitely happier on my bike when she’s all cleaned up (though some of that could be because it’s infinitely more fun to get a clean bike dirty than to get a dirty bike dirtier), and the rides usually go better. On the other hand, none of my friends ever do any “real” work on their bikes, yet they seem perfectly happy out on the trails. What about you, Readers? How much time would you say you spend working on/tweaking/cleaning your bike between rides? Do you think all the effort you put in is worth what you get out of it?

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