Going to pause the BB "Standard" Evolution/Bitching essays for a post about doing it wrong in all the right ways.
A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a party that started with a mountain bike ride. I had to fly to get there, which meant I was going to borrow a bike because flying with a bike and/or shipping a bike in any way is way fucking expensive. I don't really have any problems with borrowing bikes; in fact, I think it's a great way to experience bikes that I don't want or can't afford. But there are certain parts of my personal bikes that really are personal - shoes/pedals and helmet. But, these are heavy and take up a lot of space in a suitcase. With airlines charging for any checked bags these days, that means if I fly, I'm usually not going to be bringing shoes and pedals.
So for this trip, I packed my "workout shoes" which is to say the shoes I wear when I want to look like I'm going to work out, am working out, or just finished working out. They're sporty. They're also of the new minimal school and are not far removed from being barefoot. They're flexy. I also packed one pair of bib shorts.
And that's it. I had "prepared" for this ride by bringing shorts and barefoot running shoes. You're doin' it wrong.
The bike I was borrowing was fuggin amazing. Fully rigid single speed, ti, light, lively, awesome. Not a bike I could ever afford, ever. We screwed on some plastic platform pedals in the parking lot. From this friend I also borrowed a helmet. Found out later it belongs to his wife. She's understanding. Also on this ride was my brother, who I found out later had never ridden a bike off road before. On top of that, his bike was purchased when he was graduating high school about 50 years ago. It's a Raleigh M40 with the old Shimano cantilever brakes whose plastic spring carriers all broke. It was completely bone stock down to the brake pads and Greenfield kickstand. Oh, did I mention my brother and I are both 6'2" tall? It's a 16 or 17 inch frame.
So there it is; no gloves, no clipless, no water, no food. Just me, a chamois, a bike, and a brother even more poorly equipped than me. Read the mags. Take your pick of any of the trash out there and they'll say you're doing it wrong.
Know what? IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME. I'm not saying all the shit that goes with riding can't be fun, or that it doesn't affect the ride experience for the better. But it just doesn't matter in the end. Even when I swapped bikes with my brother and found myself on that shitty, tiny, heavy bike, it didn't matter. I was still having a blast.
So just ride your fucking bike. Feel like it's too smallheavyshittyuglycheap? Try riding it. While you're riding, STOP THINKING ABOUT THE BIKE. Look around. Smile at the people you see. Stop to appreciate the skylinehorizonmountainsflowershotchicks. True story - if you're appreciating the experience, the bike and all the shit that go with it just become tiny, insignificant details.
Just ride your fucking bike!