I recently bought a mountainbike. I haven’t had one since back in highschool and much has changed in the intervening years. It all appears to have been changes for the better.
I went for a ride with a mate of mine on Sunday on the City Loop ride around my home city of Melbourne. The weather was kind and it has solidified my renewed interest in personal powered transport. There’s just something wonderful about taking in the sights at bicycle speed. A combination of personal fitness, enjoyment of the outdoors and seeing the hidden sights of such a beautiful city.
Cruising past the Yarra with the sun shining gently on your back is a wonderful feeling. Seeing the odd cow, sheep and three-legged goat in inner-city Melbourne is a strangely uplifting experience. Though I’m relatively new to the sport that has grown up around this form of vehicular transport in the last few years, I felt very comfortable pedalling my way through the suburbs. The new bikes are a far cry from my old Malvern Star 10-speed with their disc brakes and click shifters. It’s close enough to riding a motorcycle that I was occasionally confused by having to downshift and brake with just my hands.
Motorcycles are great fun for crossing large distances without the excersion required by a pushbike, but they don’t provide the same immersion in the land around you. You can’t take your eyes off the road and cruise along for a while taking in the vistas in the same way that you can on a pushy. Unless you’re on wide open country roads, that kind of inattention can put you into the side of an on-coming bus faster than you can say ‘road-pizza’. The experience has rekindled a love for the outdoors that I hadn’t realised I’d lost.
And a final word on front shocks. Wow. What a brilliant idea. I don’t have to worry so much about bending the front forks when I dive off a step or how the bike will respond when I leap over an exposed tree branch or have to go offroad to pass some pedestrians. The whole package just feels so much better with the addition of some modern components.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m hooked. I couldn’t have picked a better time, with the weather warming up and a plethora of biking oriented friends keen for a ride. Why didn’t they rope me into this years ago?