Day by day in Jefferson


One of the things that I worry about when I get in a new hobby is GAS. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It often characterizes how I behave with my hobbies. The path goes something like this:

  • Something sparks my interest in new hobby. As a boy, I saw an ad for a ‘Chinese Hawkheaded” pigeon. That somehow lead to a lifelong interest in falconry. I was rather lucky here, because falconry is highly regulated and getting in takes lots of time, money and most of all, effort. Yet it did result in a 12 year old boy taking a bus (this was 39 years ago) over 100 miles to get a book from a library about falconry. Something simple and off-handed can often result in my interest aroused and from there….well, anything is possible.
  • Interest piqued, I now begin to learn. Most often, this process (with the advent of the web) begins with forum searches. In the old days, when there were actual ‘print’ magazines, I would find every magazine, every book on the subject. Since for me, it must MUST be the rare, the unusual, the off-beat or off the main track to interest me in the first place (hence, falconry in the 1970’s). Even when I choose a mainstream interest, I always choose the most obscure of the pieces. One of my current fascinations is reptiles. The variety is lizards. The special group is monitors. How many folk have monitors? Few.
  • Initial research done, I now begin the coveting. Hannibal Lector said we begin to covet what we see every day. My ‘research’ phase is typically done every day and so I begin to covet what I see. Quickly, I progress from entry level to whatever the ‘pro’ version would be. When I first began to be interested in reptiles, the usual firsts are, for snakes the ball python and for lizards the bearded dragon. For ‘shelled’ reptiles, most go for the red-footed turtle, some for the russian torts. For me? Ah well. I love a challenge. So I picked for snakes, the green tree python. For lizards, the chuckwalla. For tortoises, a desert tortoise.
  • So the GAS begins! When I was “into” motorcycles, I began with my 2002 Harley Davidson Fat Boy. Then I added seats, engine work, chrome of all kinds to all places, wheels, another Harley (a 2001 Dyna Low Rider) onto which went the same gear. Thousands and thousands of dollars. With my reptiles, custom caging and lighting, racks for those cages, special grow chambers for bugs. Diet packs. More lights.
  • The last stage is typically overwhelmed. Too much. Too many. And finally, a loss of interest. There are a few exceptions. I wouldn’t have sold my Harleys if my back was not a ruined piece of garbage. I would still ride. I still have (and acquire pieces for) my cameras. That started at 15 and has never quit. Perhaps because you can keep adding and never really reach the end. I have so many computers, I need to use my toes to count them all on, not just my fingers. And I love my lizards.

Which brings me to my topic: cycling. I did something out of sorts here. I knew I needed a bike. I wasn’t going to walk, not alone despite what Green Day may sing of. I knew I needed exercise. I wasn’t going to the gym. I wasn’t going to use a treadmill or a treadclimber or a stationary bike. I’d checked out the recumbent lineup and liked them – cause they were unusual – but they weren’t for me. My back does not like all my weight, however much reduced, resting on it’s lower portion. So I was left with bikes. What was unusual is that I did not research. I “knew” what I wanted. And took off to get it.

I skipped stage one and two: the initial entry was not some obscure finding and I did no research. I jumped straight into GAS. I bought the bike. At the same time, I also bought new bars, grips, seat and bag, plus a bottle mount. I had most of the other needs from my trike adventures. For a month, this sufficed.

Now I did research. And began to covet. Oh dear god how I covet. The height of coolness, for me, has to be internal geared hubs (or IGH) and planetary cranksets. Add to those the new carbon fiber belts (oh, reminders of the Harley days!) and you have a formidable GAS buildup. Plus the knowledge that perhaps my 25lb bike is a bit heavy. So maybe a Spot bike…perhaps the Acme? OHHHH YES!.

An Alfine 11 IGH in back. Add a Patterson drive up front (two speed planetary geared crankset). Comes WITH a Gates carbon fiber belt drive. Throw some new Ergon grips on that barset and you are set! Ah yes. Yum.  I already have hydration, pedals and lighting.

Those of you in the know will see I’m reasonable. Right? I didn’t say a Rohloff. I didn’t say a Schlumpf. And while I didn’t pick an Alfine 8, either, I’m not being absurd here. It’s not a carbon fiber frameset. I’m being realistic. Right?

What I fear is two things. That my SO will notice that’s not the DS 8.3 that once graced the garage and that I will hit final stage: disinterest. I’ve not ridden in three days. It’s been pouring every day with MASSIVE lightning and thunderstorms yesterday, so I’ve reason not to ride. But today, there are patches of blue and shafts of sun. I’ve a new Pearl ‘Attack’ bib knicker. Not insulated, but workable. New Niterider tail and headlights. My headphones are charged and my outer sweat gear is clean. And the kids are still in school.

I’m pretty sure, on the inside, that, despite the war waging in there about what’s right and what’s wrong and whether I should have more coffee or some cereal (with the gastric bypass, there’s room for one, not both at a time) to warm me before I go, that I will see that spot in my garage filled with that Spot from the website. Particularly if I can talk to them and find out if I can indeed swap out that crankset with the Patterson. I’ll sell my Trek and that will help pay. $2100 for the bike plus $300 for the drive. Plus tax.

Ah well. Maybe the monitors will lay eggs in spring and I’ll make three or four thousand dollars. Then I can buy the SO one, too. GAS to the second power.

Notes on my ride to follow. It’s 36 degrees out now. And that’s here at 1825′. I’l be going to around 2200-2300′ so it’s most likely below freezing there. After last nights’ rain, probably some ice on the ground mixed in with all those pine needles and cones. Yea!


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