Risk vs. Reward

This morning, as I trundled along on my Eye Of The Tiger Bike:

I noticed that a flower had lodged itself in my spokes:

Its magenta hue perfectly matched the bike’s dated decals:

I took this as a sign of good fortune…though I still don’t know how to interpret the fact that my Trigger Bell looks like a distended breast:

Speaking of distended breasts, I’ve covered mine with a Vulpine Merino City Jersey for the past two days in a row, both for today’s trundle and yesterday’s morning jaunt to the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall:

In preperation for the latter, I watched the Olympic all-terrain bicycle race, which NBC Sports won’t allow me to embed for your convenience:

This race was notable for Mathieu van der Poel’s unfortunate crash (is there any other kind of crash?):

In the world of Internet commentary, the two worst sources of it are mountain bikers and YouTube viewers, so when you combine the two you get a synergistic inanity. Here’s someone who’s upset that Bob Roll didn’t use the right lingo for the crash:

Yes, Bob Roll knows absolutely nothing about mountain biking:

What a clueless noob! No disc brakes?!? I bet he doesn’t even drive around in a pickup with a bike hanging over the gate, which everyone knows is the mark of the true mountain biker:

Actually, he probably does.

Another hallmark of the Internet mountain biker is disbelief that anyone would use a bike without full suspension and a dropper post in every single situation:

When critiquing bike setups based on YouTube videos it’s always worth considering that professional bike racers know what they’re doing, though I admit the placement of that saddle might lead one to conclude it was in his way:

Though it could also be more about his knowing how to bail when things go awry, because he rolled out of it quite admirably. Here’s a closer look at the crash:

Whatever the case, knobby-tired enthusiasts will no doubt continue to debate the potentially race-saving attributes of dropper posts until new technology comes along, such as a brain implant that adjusts your suspension and raises and lowers your saddle on the fly based on the topography.

As for me, free from the concerns of having to ride fast, and way too old to even consider launching myself into mid-air, I’m quite content riding offroad on a dated bicycle with a taint-pounding non-retractable saddle and a rigid frame:

I may be flippant about helmets and that sort of thing, but the truth is I’m incredibly circumspect as a rider, and take the time to perform the risk calculus many others are inclined to ignore. See, when a professional mountain biker encounters an obstacle, he or she must consider the potential risks and rewards, i.e.:

Risk: hurting self

Reward: fame, fortune, Olympic medal, etc.

In this scenario the decision to launch oneself off said obstacle is a perfectly reasonable one, especially in light of the fact that exemplary fitness and skill decrease the odds of the former scenario, while at the same time increasing the odds of a speedy recovery.

For the average schmuck however (that’s me) the calculus is quite different:

Risk: hurting self

Reward: feeling good about yourself for about 20 seconds afterward

This makes launching oneself a very poor value proposition, since if all you care about is fleeting pleasure you might as well sit home with a box of Whip-Its. If I go around the obstacle instead of over it I may feel like a “woosie” for a few seconds, but if my old ass falls who knows how long I could be off the bike–and being off the bike for any stretch of time is my worst fear in life. I suppose it’s a little different if you have a bunch of brahs with padded pickup truck gates you want to impress, or you have a large personal investment in making TikToks of your bicycling exploits, but none of those things apply to me. Therefore, I’m perfectly content to scurry around on terrain like this:

Note the edges of the trail have been trimmed, meaning next time I come through there in open-toe shoes I can worry that much less about getting ticks and poison ivy on my tootsies.

Finally, I’m quite happy with the “new” generic crank, mostly because the shape has all bun eliminated the crankarm heel strike I generally experience thanks to my toes-out stance and plastic-heeled Sidis:

These should suffice until someone comes out with a dropper crank.

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