Letter K- Keeping Up With The Jones’s Bike

home bike


This year, I will be doing “something new.” I have chosen a “theme.” I will be blogging about biking adventures. This will include riding tales, travel, stories, absurdity, insanity, adventure, and hopefully a little humor and nonsense mixed in; my favorite topics.

By Zulu Delta

Every hobby, passion, vice; good and bad have some cost associated with it. Even if your passion is walking, you probably need some decent shoes/sneakers to help you out. Recently, I was having a conversation about feeling guilty about the cost of a yearly bike tune-up with my friend John; also a sailor, cyclist, and former boat owner.

For many years, I owned a boat. Even for those who don’t own a boat, many are familiar with the rumored cost and trouble of owning one. Yes, hopefully, there are many great pleasures that come with it, but there are so many costs that an owner has to endure that don’t seem connected to actually being on and enjoying the boat. It’s like a house in many ways. There is maintenance, upkeep, storage, repairs, registration and other incidentals that take the joy right out of it; kind of like having to pay your sewer tax bill each year. When people used to tell me they were thinking about buying a boat, I would say; ” First, stick a needle in your eye; if it feels good, buy the boat.” BTW, if it doesn’t feel good, well, you should have been wearing your safety glasses anyway!!! Hahahahahah!

Let me be clear; the idea to get a boat and maintain it was all my idea, and to have the privilege and good fortune (an apt description) to be able to do so is something I always felt blessed with, and nothing short of a gift from the heavens……..except when the diesel engine was tormenting me, I suspected that gift was from an “otherworld entity further south.” Of course, buying a 20-year-old sailboat that needed a ton of work is not the mega-yacht/yacht/super boat some of you may be envisioning. Being delusional helps if you want to get into boating. I was delusional as they came.

Racing sailboats and racing bikes have a lot in common; tactics, strategy, and speed to name a few. There is also the pursuit of technology and upgradeable equipment to get that upper edge over your competitors. Carbon fiber bikes, carbon fiber sails, carbon fiber sandwiches……ah ok, belay my last on the sandwiches. Like many passionate hobbyists, it’s easy to lose perspective and confuse what you need versus what you want. A sometimes slippery slope, with a very deep rabbit hole at the bottom. 

These days, my number one reason for cycling is for exploration. This makes my choices for equipment and upgrades far more sensible and safety-oriented. Hydraulic disc brakes; better stopping. New yellow jacket; better visibility. New front and rear lights; LED powered to see and be seen longer and brighter.

So as John and I were discussing the cost of bike maintenance, he said; “Zulu, think back to your days about racing a sailboat; new sails, folding props, windward sheeting cars, special expensive bottom paint that you put on and then pay a diver to rub off so the boat goes faster and so on, and on.”

Suddenly, the idea of paying someone to tune my bike, add a new chain, and replace a few cables, so I can take it home and store it for free in my shed until I go out riding seems like a time-saver, a sound investment in safety, and a phenomenal bargain.

I’ll save the carbon fiber sandwiches for the Jones’s.



7 thoughts on “Letter K- Keeping Up With The Jones’s Bike

  1. Zulu, happily reading the posting and following the sailing analogy then got to the end – a man of your calibre taking a push bike into a shop for a tune up! Agh! I think I’ll write a book, Zulu and the Art of Bike Maintenance. Oh, that’s sort of been done. I feel a bad bout of Surlyness coming on. I think I will retire to the garage and lubricate the chain on my bike with the latest oil enhanced with nano dilithium crystals for extra warp drive.

    Liked by 1 person

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