New Bike Day Ponderings
As a copywriter for Surly bikes, it’s my job to write blog posts when Tyler walks up to me and says “nobody feels like writing a blog post. Write a blog post.” Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have a terribly difficult time. My recipe for a blog post, not a good blog post but a blog post nonetheless, is really just an idea surrounded by a thick layer of bloviating. This time around I’m having a little more difficulty. My mind is distracted because today is New Bike Day. I got an Ice Cream Truck and I’m really excited to ride it. I've ridden a prototype that one of our engineers got a long time ago and I was really into the bike. They’re a lot of fun to ride and they’re a great example of how different geometry can completely change the experience of the ride. But not only did I get an Ice Cream Truck, I also got an idea for a blog post because over the last couple of weeks I have seen, and been the recipient of some vitriol directed at Fat Bikes in the form of people telling me they think Fat Bikes are lame.
Generally speaking, the sounds of other people’s opinions drown in the howling storm of indifference that is me trying to listen to other people's opinions, but when I see people give a shit super hard about things as insignificant as what type of bike another person rides I have to understand where it comes from. It's a form of mental rubber-necking that draws me towards things I find to be unimportant, ugly, absurd, or just downright stupid. Who knows though, maybe I’m wrong and I should care more about what other people are doing (although that sounds pretty fucking stupid when I say it to myself).
All of this recent negativity has made me examine my ideas about why I don’t have anything against fat bikes more in depth. To be honest, when they first came out, I was a little skeptical of the whole platform, they seemed to be overkill embodied in bicycle form. To be fair to the bikes though, I wasn’t in a place to ride one and knew it so I just didn’t feel compelled to ride one. I was living on the road and working with a professional road racing team so my mind was elsewhere and I never really had much opportunity to ride off-road at all back in those days if I was traveling. Simply chosing not to participate and thinking people that do participate suck are two things on the same spectrum that are pretty far apart.
Over the past few years I’ve ridden my fat bike more and more, but it wasn’t really until last year when I went on a multi-day off-road tour along the coast of Lake Superior in Michigan that things really started to make sense. It was on that trip when I realized that the point of these things is that they really can go places you would have no hope of going on any other bike. Yeah sure, they’re a lot of fun to ride where ever the hell else you’d ride any other normal bike, but that’s really not where they shine. Am I trying to say that people who don’t like fat bikes are easy to identify as unimaginative fun-haters? Not really, but it is weird when you see someone actually give a shit about what bike someone else is riding. Don't do that. Just pay attention to your own bike. Make sure it's clean and in good working order, then get on it and take it for a ride.