There is much love for newness. We a’e all constantly beseeched to embrace change. New is cleaner, brighter and somehow better. Built is obsolescence is the marketeers’ wet dream. The true cost of disposal are lost in the economics of shiny.
My loyal and – I can only surmise – medicinally enhanced readers may register surprise at my stout resistance to the pull of the new. Hard to reconcile this position from a man who disposes of bicycles at speeds close to light.
Here’s the deal; some new experiences are not welcome. And while avoidance of camel buggary, the upper-classes and time trialling are simple even for a man short of patience and sanity, others creep up on you before unleashing their horrible newness.
Chill Blains of the todger. That’s one. In fact, the argument could be closed right there. The juxtoposition of a much anticipated warn shower striking frozen gentleman’s regions can be aptly summarised thus: “FFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK”
-5 is not a super temperature to begin a night ride. Frankly it’s not even a good time to be outside. And yet here were the magnificent seven presenting themselves in various genres of a fashion crime, shivering and looking for excuses to go straight back home.
Fair amount of scope for that. Frozen mechs could be thawed by a desperate wee, but stuck cables proved trickier. Freewheels were gluey with thickening grease, fluid froze in brake lines, pistons in calipers*
Trails were fantastic though, when we could get to them. Access was via icy fireroads which claimed more than one victim. The normally impressive array of lights were displaying all sorts of new things, although the old, tired idea of illumination didn’t appear to be one of them.
Cold batteries sent high-precision electronics into winter meltdown. After a few descents I learned to blink in sequence with the flashing approximation of lumens on the bar.
Eventually even turning on occasionally became too much for the poor thing, leaving me to divine the trail with the help of a fading helmet torch and occasional bark.
Stamping feet, and our own special-needs version of the sprinkler did little to return warmth to extremities bone-frozen by the unrelenting cold. Increased heart rates as dry, grippy singletrack morphed into tyre sliding ice sheets didn’t help much either.
After a couple of hours, we called halt before at least one rider shaped puzzle was ice entombed for the next generation of Channel 4 discovery programs: “An amazing find, the human shaped object is clinging to a tree, mouth open and wearing shorts. He may have been in a tribe, but appears he has been abandoned”
Damn straight. Not hanging around when there is a nice warm shower waiting at home.
* This is not a euphamism. Although later it could have been,