There is a madness that takes hold during Winter. An obsessive madness. A madness of details. A madness of possibilities. This is the season, the bikes hung for storage, when you can dream. This is the season of becoming faster, smoother, cooler, and more bad-ass with the simple addition of new stuff. This is the season of upgrades. Some required, some frivolous, but all are necessary.
There is an immediacy, an instant feedback, to building a bike. It either works, or it doesn’t. You’re either good, or you’re not. There is immediate gratification in feeling the subtle vibrations of perfectly shifting gears as you turn the pedals. No matter how complicated your life, things are simple in that instant.
In all honesty, sometimes I miss it, the satisfaction of that immediacy. There’s a thrill to it. There is a rush to it, hands covered in grease, when you know right away that you’ve done well. That you’ve figured out the problem. That you’ve fixed it. There are provable and immediate results. Regardless of how complicated or messy life can be, I always know that I can pick up a wrench and, at least for a moment, everything will make sense. No second-guessing. You either figure things out, or you can’t. There is no ambiguous middle ground. Occasionally, I whole-heartedly miss this feeling.
This is why there will always be a new part for my bike. There will always be something that will make me theoretically stronger or faster. It’s never the part per se, but rather it’s the installation and application of it that helps me makes sense of my world. It gives me the certainty and simplicity that I miss. Knowing that my actions and decisions have an immediate result, instantly measurable in their efficacy, helps me to collect and understand my thoughts and my feelings. There is a specific madness to obsessing about bike parts, but it also creates a small element of calm in a turbulent life.
Sometimes, that’s all that you need.