As a middle-aged schlub I can do little more than watch from the sidelines as my hair falls out an my knees creak like a press-fit bottom bracket. What I can do, however, is attempt to keep my brain nimble and prevent my overall attitude from ossifying. To that end, I try to at least check my impulse to dismiss anything new as stupid and frivolous–however it’s really hard to do that when I see something like this:
Hey, I get it, people love riding indoors. While everyone else was laughing at the spinning phenomenon, I was calling them out for their utter lack of self-awareness. I also pointed out that, while it’s possible to laugh all the way to the bank, it’s equally possible to spend so much time laughing you never make it to the bank:
By the way, it’s up another 70% since I tweeted that.*
Still, hard as I may try to keep an open mind, I remain in thrall to the naive notion that we must at least preserve the integrity of ideas. So while I have nothing whatsoever against Zwift, and would probably even find myself using it from time to time if I had someplace to put a trainer other than the bathtub, I must take issue with their suggestion that we “shred gravel” from the “comfort of home:”
I mean…really? Isn’t shredding gravel in the comfort of home inherently paradoxical, like taking a dignified dump, or engaging in a wild parter-swappin’ fuckfest within the bonds of holy matrimony? (Note whimsical apostrophe in “partner-swappin’.”) Furthermore, isn’t gravel-griding (or shredding, or rending, or pulverizing, or whatever you want to call it) supposed to be a test of one’s mettle? And if we allow it to join the ranks of frivolous stuff we do on our computers in the comfort of home, how is it really any different from, say, wanking? (Well, okay, to be fair, gravel-grinding really isn’t all that much different from wanking.) Indeed, at a certain point, does not this fissure in the anus of logic have the potential to relegate our once-great society to the Donut of Surrender once and for all?
It’s even irritating from a technological perspective. In the digital realm we can ride upon any surface and through any terrain we choose. We could descend the tongue of a dragon, ride up the spiral staircase of the Tower of Babel, and then shrink down to the size of a molecule and do intervals up and down the vas deferens of Jesus. Instead, the best we can come up with is shredding gravel in comfort–while using a suspension fork on a stationary trainer???
Hey, when we’re all living in goo-filled pods, “shredding gravel” in order to generate power for our electronic overlords, don’t say I didn’t warn you:
Speaking of gravel, while I realize this is still more evidence that I’m hopelessly old and ossified, I find the endless parade of identical bikes that go along with it to be mind-numbingly boring:
Seriously, just looking at them makes me sleepy. Company after company releasing their carbon copy (literally and figuratively) of the Obligatory Gravel Bike. I never thought the industry could come up with something more boring than the road bike, but here we are.
But this too is merely an expression of my ossification and insufferable smugness, and surely my current obsession with friction shifting and flat pedals is equally tedious–though this in no way diminishes how deeply proud I am to have become an integral part of the Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen brand identity:
See? They quoted me!!!
Hey, how many semi-professional bike bloggers can say their endorsements have been used to sell both exquisite lugs and cheap fixies?
Does this make me someone who really loves bikes, or does it make me a shill?
Then answer, of course, is yes.
*[Warning: nothing on this website should be construed as investment advice. Curator of this site is a financial ignoramus. Making investment decisions based on any opinions, observations, wisecracks, etc. contained herein is potentially ruinous. Even ostensibly “stable” investment vehicles such as funds that track the Chris King Headset Composite Index carry an element of risk. Do your own research and invest accordingly.]