Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The upside of vanity

I recently attended a “Tech Talk” event at a local bike shop presented by Seven Cycles.  We were all adults and wise enough to recognize it as an event aimed at selling more bikes.  I am the happy owner of a bike made by Seven that I purchased eight years ago and I have no intention of replacing it. Maybe I was looking for reassurance or maybe I was hoping there would be freebies handed out. Either way I braved a heavy Seattle downpour and took it all in.

Eight years ago I immersed myself in all of the research and propaganda that led me to buy the bike I did.  Between then and now I have spent absolutely no time reconsidering the decision nor have I really paid attention to the latest improvements that could have been mine if only I had waited.  I feel like my bike is perfect for its intended purpose and I intend to continue to love it and ride it as long as I am able.

As he talked about selecting a unique set of tubing for each rider from a variety of tube options with various diameters and wall thicknesses the memories of my earlier research came flooding back to me. I found myself settling back into my perceived sweet spot on the multidimensional matrix of continuums of value, performance, aesthetics, craftsmanship, branding and countless others.  I am generally the same person with the same paradigms I held when I decided Seven was the bike for me eight years ago. Hearing essentially the same data now only served to reinforce my earlier decision. 

The presenter shared the combination of philosophy, artistry, science, passion and people that make up the company and the products it produces.   While the motherhood angle often makes us feel good I am enough of a curmudgeon that if it does not translate into the results I want (a superior product, etc.) then I dismiss it as hogwash.

The presenter mentioned how an increasing number of customers get their Ti frames painted. My frame is bare Ti which I think looks beautiful.   I don’t know the dollar figure but I remember at the time the price of getting the bike painted seemed excessive.   He then mentioned that a byproduct of a custom paint job is that riders are likely to ride more if they think the bike looks good.  He mentioned having his wife’s bike repainted and that now she rides it more.  Typically I am not swayed by anecdotal evidence, but it struck a chord.

Clearly this is vanity and while I wish I could claim to be immune from the disease; I am in fact deeply afflicted.  I am vain enough to maintain the self centered belief that strangers care enough about what is swirling around in my melon to read these words.  Therefore it is not hard to imagine that I might find motivation to ride more or ride harder or longer from something as trivial as the look of my bike or the clothing I wear.
When I am wearing my favorite clothes I do think I ride a tad faster.  When the bike is clean and shiny I think I treat it a bit nicer and believe (correctly) that it shifts and performs better.  Perhaps “Look sharp, be sharp” can be updated to “Look fast, be fast”?  This has the potential to be a slippery slope.

At one point in time I tried to measure any potential cycling related purchase against the question of whether or not the purchase would make me faster or safer.  Now with the vanity angle out in the open I can justify almost anything. Justification and denial are two of my greatest strengths. If it makes me ride more then, yes, it does make me faster. With thoughts along these lines this can be a dangerous time to be my Visa card.
Make me FAST !!!

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