For many people, a bike is just a bike, a type of vehicle used to get from point A to point B. At least that’s what a buddy of mine, Mike, thought until his eyes were opened to the world of cycling. He was glued to the television during the Tour de France. He imagined himself racing to fame as well. But his favorite style of bike racing was the mountain bike. He became an avid spectator, fan, and finally a participant. He was hooked, spending all his free time riding whenever possible.
In the beginning he started with the cheap bikes found at Wal-Mart or Target. Everyone has seen those. They work well for the average or sometimes rider, but expecting competition results from them wasn’t likely at all. Mike found this out the hard way when he competed in his first race. While the other competitors coasted over the rough terrain with an ease he envied, his bike barely crested the lower hills. And talk about an uncomfortable ride. When he came in last, he vowed he’d prepare with better equipment next time. But first, he needed a worthy bike with high quality components.
When he told his wife how much his mountain bike cost, her eyes opened wide in disbelief. That was the first time in their eleven-year marriage that something caused her to go speechless.
There’s no way a bike can cost as much as a used car, she declared. Oh, but it can. He hid his smile. Everything had to be the best that he could afford. Somehow he convinced his wife to make the purchase. Perhaps he drove home the point that high quality parts would protect his life in ways that a cheap bike wouldn’t. Just the gear set alone would provide the control and speed he needed.
When Mike’s bike was completely outfitted, he had a ride worthy of any serious mountain biker. Soon plenty of family, friends, and coworkers expressed interest in his new passion. They encouraged him and promised to attend his next race. A few of his closest friends even wanted to get their own mountain bike so they could ride with him. He shared with them how he put his bike together and why he had chosen particular parts.
When his friends needed advice on choosing the crank system and derailleurs, he referred them to Cycling Plaza for more information. He stressed the importance of picking a trusted, reputable brand. He told them it was okay to skimp on some things, but never skimp on the parts that keep your bike running smoothly.
Finally, after months of training, the day of Mike’s race arrived. Mike was ready. He rode hard against the icy wind and muddy trails. They were more slippery than normal, and the lack of visibility forced him to slow down a bit, but his bike adapted to the conditions. In spite of the bad weather, Mike exulted in the freedom of the ride. And when he reached the finish line, his family and friends congratulated him on a job well done.
How did he do, you ask? Well, he was one of the first to complete the race, taking an impressive 15th place out of hundreds of competitors. After taking a few weeks off to recover, Mike was back on his bike, ready to train for the next race. He even talked his wife into riding with him a couple of times. Other times his friends would join him. Life couldn’t get any better than that.
Well, winning first place at a race would be icing on the cake.