And, oddly, as the accumulated riding skills diminish because of eroding reflexes and lack of training, the knowledge part increases. Therefore, we here at BikesportNZ.com owe it to the world to pass on some of this know-how. In no particular order, here are some Things You Ought To Know:
HOW TO GUARANTEE YOU WILL NOT BREAK A PART ON YOUR BIKE. This is weird, but it does work. Simply carry any extra part with you in your bum bag or ute that you suspect might fail. We guarantee that part will never be needed. But be warned! Any part that you do not bring with you probably will break.
THE BEST TIME TO BREAK IN A NEW SET OF BOOTS. Is never. You simply cannot find a good time to un-stiffen new footwear. You’ll just have to go through the misery of missing shifts and walking around the pits like penguin on drugs until they loosen up properly. One side note: Once a set of boots gets feeling just right, it’s only a matter of hours before they start to deteriorate badly enough for you to think about getting a new pair.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR NEW HELMET FLAWLESS. Don’t ever take it out of the box. The way it works is this: The nicer your helmet, the fancier the paint job, the more money it cost you, the more likely you are to damage the helmet the first time you use it. Next time you get a new helmet, scratch it with a screwdriver as soon as I take it out of the box.
DON’T LEND ANY TOOLS OR RIDING GEAR TO ANYBODY. Lending this stuff is simply a method of giving it away. When’s the last time your can of chain lube came back to you feeling nice and full after you loaned it out? We rest our case.
DISAPPEARING THINGS. The following items will invariably disappear, no matter what you do: Tie-downs, duct tape, your favourite special tools, your last decent goggle lens, one motocross sock, the only kidney belt with decent velcro on it, your favourite gloves, the clipping in the newspaper that had your name in the results, showing you winning your class.
STUFF YOU CAN LEND TO PEOPLE. The dried-up muesli in the bottom of your gear bag, the rounded-off 10 millimetre wrench in your tool box that doesn’t work any more, the tube of silicone seal that’s hard as rock, a flier from a race that happened three years ago, the can of chain lube with a missing tip (one that no other tip in the world fits), half a dozen dirty spark plugs that you’ll never use, a pair of shorts that you plan to wash someday (but never get around to taking out of your gear bag), a riding jersey that’s too small to wear any more, and a pair of goggles with a sagged-out strap.
When you’ve been in the sport for a long time you can look back at what you’ve learned, dismiss all the bull, and ride when you feel like it.
In between these two important phases of your life, you’ll make frenzied runs for trophies, train like a madman, have some intense times, then get older … and, hopefully, wiser.
Your values will change with time … and you’ll more than likely look back at the “old days” with a certain wistful fondness. As all this happens, you’ll be accumulating a fantastic backlog of great memories. If you’re young, or even just starting out in this sport, you cannot possibly know all this. Unless, that is, you’ve just read through this item.
Now you know most of the things you ought to know.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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