Pavlov's Bike.

I am an internet bike-retailer's wet dream.

All they have to do is throw up an ad for a component I have no use for at a dramatically reduced price, and I start drooling and pondering new projects. A discounted left crank arm (who could pass that up?) suddenly requires a crankset to bolt it to. The crankset needs a bottom bracket to connect it to the frame. After you get the frame, you need a seat post, stem, handlebars, groupset, wheelset...

...all because they discounted a left crank arm.

I suppose I'm getting a little better with my impulse control.

My "why the hell did I buy that?" box is smaller than my "there's a reason I'm hoarding all of this" box. Sooner or later I'll use all of the good stuff. The crap I keep around as a living testament to my greatest weakness- I am first and foremost a consumer.

Pete used to run chains until they had intermittent contact with the cogs. He'd only replace his cables if they exploded in spectacular fashion or seized completely and rendered shifting (and often braking) an exercise in futility. Even then, he'd do so under protest. Part of the reason I would periodically rebuild his bike was to keep it from going IED while I was in his draft.

On the other hand, I often view a slightly dingy chain or cable set as an excuse to replace the entire drivetrain. It's not that I go all jihadist in the name of bike maintenance. I don't. I don't keep my bikes as clean as I should, and my derailleurs look like they've been run under the chocolate waterfall at the local Golden Corral feed trough. However, under all of that grit and grime are otherwise new-ish parts.

I'm a consumer.

I like pulling things apart and putting them back together. I like being able to go to the shelf and find exactly the part I need without stopping work to run out to the bike shop. I only get so much time to wrench, and that's precious to me. Besides, I take four hours to do a 30 minute job, so the commute often means things go unfinished.

At least now I check the existing inventory before I click the "Buy It Now" button.

It's a start.


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