Um, can we not all agree that some appreciation of your gear is required? Sure, if your riding training wheels to the top of your driveway and back trying to hit that sweet jump you and your friends made, then go all out. But when your trekking in the wilderness, whether it’s a 5hr drive from the city followed by short 300ft vertical climb to the trail head or whether it’s a small bush behind a Walmart and a municipal dump, there’s got to be some standards.
Stay still pretty fly. Stay very, very still…
Of course, as a TWH Blog comrade, I could never endorse the elitism of lycra warriors. This is why I don’t require you to be able to dissemble and reassemble your bike in less than 30 minutes, or be able to fix a broken chain in the dark while a pack of desperate wolves circle you. It’s also why I don’t require you to know the innate details of every component of your bike or have a stock pile of criticisms to throw at other riders and their inferior equipment. And, yes, its why I could never endorse (and actively dissuade you from) wearing tight lycra. Its not necessarily the lyra, its what it leads to. Like gateway drugs. But anyway…
You must at least know what kind of valves your running and how to pump up a tire.
This is basic stuff people. Who doesn’t pump up their own tires? No one. Well, I don’t, because I have an army of comrade slaves that keep Theo and my bikes in good working order. But, most people do it themselves.
And when you find yourself deep in the trails with a 10k bike and a team jersey on asking some other guy for a pump you better know what kind of valve your running. Now, if your wearing jeans sans helmet with a 20 year old Raleigh, no ones expects anything of you. Proceed as you will. But if you look like Captain America, you better act like him. Know your shit.
True story. I happened upon a rider in need of a pump and gladly handed him mine, “It’s for Presta though, cool?” I say casually as I handed it to him, “Yeah, yeah” he responded. A couple minutes pass as this guy huffs and puffs his way through the short stroke pumps while struggling to keep the pump on his valve. Wearing the costume of the enemy, I decide to just defer to his authority and not anger the enemy hordes. Then we reach the 5 minute mark and I begin to worry. Mini pumps take a while, but not this long. And the pump should easily stay secured on the valve, but not need constant readjustment and handling. I clue in. This guy has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. “Hey, are you sure it’s a Presta?” I ask this time with a little more focus. “Presta!? I don’t know. What’s that?”…
…Okay, now its my fault for not being diligent enough in the first place. But I realize a few things immediately: 1. This guy is cluelessness and I’ve been watching him falter meaninglessly for the last 10 minutes, 2. Based on realization #1, I’ve now wasted my time lending this guy a pump that won’t work for him, and 3. My pump has now endured the unwarranted abuse of being forced again and again on a Schrader valve. Fuck me, right? Unsavoury realizations as they are, they’re not that bad. So, I politely inform him my pump won’t work and he returns it back to me, suffering and wounded. I apologize for the confusion. He’s still confused.
So, what can you learn from this? Don’t trust anyone. This is learned early in life when that beautiful girl in elementary school you thought liked you was only using you for your skittles. It’s tough. But, more importantly, while you should not assume everyone is a senior mechanic , you should expect that they have an appreciation of their own gear.
And if they don’t…well, they’ve let you down like little Carly-Sue and her merciless pursuit of skittles, no matter how many hearts she breaks. One day, Carly-Sue, one day!
Now to lick my wounds…and have my comrade slaves find me a new pump,