Sunday, February 12, 2012

Only if it applies . . .

I dislike misusing words and that generally places me in a minority. Take, for instance, "awesome." I can probably count the number of times I have truly been in awe of something, yet others seem moved to an "overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear" multiple times in a typical day. Witnessing my first napalm strike stirred an "overwhelming feeling of . . . fear." I was in awe of the Grand Canyon. Niagara Falls. The Twin Towers/9-11.

I like Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but it isn't awesome. Funny Cars and Top Fuelers doing 300 mph is amazing, but not awesome. (Seeing them light up the sky with their flames and fill the air with their thunder like an internal combustion Aurora Borealis on finals night of the Gator Nationals comes close.) Still, there have been some things about my evolution into the bike culture and mentality that touch the edge of awesome.

After mounting Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 tires (700c x 38) on my Safari, Michael, the mechanic at Bikes and More, said "these tires are awesome." I might have quibbled with him over the phrase, but, now, nearly 1000 miles later I'm tempted to agree. They are a fine blend of everything good. I am not a boy-racer, so weight is not an issue, thus they accelerate quickly enough, show little wear, provide excellent flat protection and handle predictably. The idea was to determine whether they were as good as advertised and claimed. I think they are.

The break-in took time, but the result was the same as touted by others. Brooks makes a helluva saddle. Though it lacks any cushioning, relying entirely on flexing of the leather, the B-17 fits me and has eliminated all discomfort from long rides. I am in awe of a product first made available in 1898 which continues to be the product of choice.

Because the best accessories for a bike are far less expensive than comparable accessories would be for a car, I can invest in the best, or what I perceive to be the best for me. That is why I have a Novara Safari, Ortlieb bags, Tubus rack, Topeak pump and a Click-Stand. It is awesome stuff only if the term applies, otherwise, it's just damn good!

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