Its Christmas Eve and I am riding my new search2retain Wilier Trestina bike for the first time. Its raining of course.
At the moment its just noticeable but if I stop or slow, it will turn into a deluge. Behind me black clouds are dumping water on the countryside. You can see the rain bending from cloud to earth in the distance but I am not looking behind.
I am chasing the sun that is dancing in front of me. Directly above, a celestial line has been drawn in the sky. As I slow going uphill the rain catches me before I shake its clutches again going down the other side. Not quite the easy spin I had in mind to get used to the new rig but I will not be caught in a downpour with a new bike on its first day.
There is something irrepressibly sexy about new bikes. The shiny frame begs to be slightly caressed as you walk past. The ease with which the brake levers are pulled and the perfect distance until the pads to touch the rim. The solid thunk of the chain moving from the 12 to the 11 and back again. The sparkling cassette, the feel of new rubber on the shifters
Everything is perfect about a new bike…until you try to ride it. The saddle becomes foreign, the seat height is definitely wrong even though I measured it 3 times, are these bars straight, what happened to that piece of art? Its a paradox of epic proportion. Riding a new bike is like taming a wild stallion (or what I imagine it to be like). It needs to be broken in and fine tuned; the saddle height and the bar angle and the seat angle and the setback and the stack height tinkered with and perfected over and over. Those first rides are punctured with frequent stops for adjustments or twitches from the frame at unexpected moments, a carbon bucking bronco. And one day the adjustments stop and the bucking halts and magic has happened.
I love new bikes. I can’t help it. Whenever I am in a bike shop I inevitably find myself walking up to one and grabbing the bars or squeezing the brakes; even hunkering down into some tt bars if thats what it takes. Every once in a while, the moment you touch a bike, your mind becomes overrun with images of blasting over bergs and screaming down descents as if you grabbed a seeing stone. You have to let go, its so overwhelming. Did I feel it with the Wilier? I won’t tell you. For now, lets just get this stallion under control.