I lifted the photo from the ProBikeKit Facebook page. It is a nice little piece of art in addition to being a schooling for me. I've already talked about how useless I am when it comes to bike components so that even simple things like knowing how aggressive I can get with those components when cleaning my bikes makes me nervous.
The other day a friend, who I know reads my blog, forwarded me this link about how to clean your bike in 10 minutes from Bicycling Magazine -- the mag for everything a lay person (and mechanical idiot) should want or need to know about biking, or so you would think. I scanned it with interest until point #4 which told me to "remove rear derailleur housing" and then I was done with that article because that was the most useless thing you could ask me to do. I'd have to stare at my bike for about 10 minutes just to figure out what might be the "derailleur housing." The bike still wouldn't get clean.
Actually I could stare at my bike all day and still not know what that is exactly.
I get a little better every year though so I will get there. I listen. I learn. I take people's unsolicited advice -- usually. The understanding isn't instantaneous and I don't know what I don't know so I fail to ask questions that I probably should. I'm a strong believer in learning from my own mistakes. I ended up with a bike too big for me because I didn't know what to ask. I loved that Devinci. It was pretty and orange and I wanted it and they didn't have a size small. So I was sat on a medium (not at Alter but at another bike shop in the city -- also a good bike shop) and told to put my hands on the drops, bend my elbows 90 degrees and, could I see the hub?
Uh, No. I said. I didn't know what "the hub" was, at the time. I thought "the hub" was something other than what it really was.
OK, then it fits. I was told. Well, it didn't really fit I quickly discovered. Lesson learnt. But what did I know. Nothing.
When I was going through the experience of creating my Project ONE a year ago, I had test rode another slightly lower model Madone that was in the store and Dave told me I would have basically two choices of shifting systems that would fit best with my price range Ultegra or SRAM. And he did his best to explain the difference to me and I'm sure I stood there blinking with big eyes and a "deer in the headlights look." A look, I am sure, Dave is very familiar with by now, coming from me -- it doesn't stop him from at least trying to teach me, though.
Although not long ago I went in the store to get chain lube (owned bikes for 2.5 years, I just bought my own chain lube .....sad...sad....) and he says to me, "You want a low viscosity lube?"
ME: I don't know. Sure?
HIM: Yes, yes you do.
ME: Whatever you say.
And that is kind of a standard bike shop visit for me.
But I digress from my shifting story......
So I mocked up my Project ONE and emailed it off to Dave with the explanation that I was counting on him to tell me if I was making any bad choices. I chose Ultegra, I guess, (Ultegra SL, apparently -- whatever that means) and that's what I have. I'd never tried SRAM at that time and I guess I gravitated to the familiar, and a lower price tag, but I have tried SRAM now and if I could go back and do it again, I would pick that instead. That's about the only thing I would change of the choices I made in ignorance a year ago. I was trying to keep costs down because, as it was, I spent about $1000 more than I intended to.
But it's all just a matter of preference, I suppose. The Ultegra is fine, actually. It's great. I haven't had a single problem with it. I had Shimano 105 before that and it was constantly causing me trouble.
So imagine how lost I am feeling right now knowing that the next time I make a big bike related toy purchase it will be wheels -- which is item #2 on Kim's covet list. I had considered getting race wheels when I originally built my Madone but, again, the costs were already mounting so I opted to just wait.
So I'm thinking about wheels now and I should be doing some research but I don't even know what to research. I'm trying not to have a price tag in my head because I know I'll throw the price tag out the window if I find something I like the "idea" of. I can tell you that I'm not spending $4000 --- $1000 is probably a more reasonable estimate. I said I wanted wheels that were, at the very least, no heavier than what I presently have on the bike. Dave said that would be pretty hard to do because the wheels on my bike now are pretty good wheels.
I'll take his word for it. I have no idea what makes a "pretty good wheel." These are kinda nice looking though (and probably way out of my price range):
|Stolen from the Bicycling Facebook Fan Page. Facebook usually isn't good for much more than telling me that everyone is sick right now and getting ready for Christmas, but it does feed me lots of cycling news.|
So I don't know. There is another part of me that says forget getting wheels and go on a trip or something. What do I really NEED them for? Am I even competitive enough to need that? And with all the damn crosswind in this province will they be helpful? I don't know.
So if anyone wants to feed me information about "what I don't know about wheels, etc," feel free. I'll listen. Email me if you'd rather.
I must buy a cyclocross bike for next year and that really is a bigger priority. I suppose I have a few connections that might lend me wheels for the couple important times I might want them.
I never thought I would turn into someone who contemplated this kind of thing. It's only a matter of time before I insist on having a dual suspension mountain bike too so.......... But I'm hoping to be able to wait until one my kids can ride my present mountain bike for that.
Never ending money hole this biking thing is.
But you can't put a price tag on love or freedom.