Decades pass, cables stay

enAt 43 I am officially an old fart of cycling, and although I feel relieved that I no longer need to cycle faster than others or beat any personal best, I do feel the need to promote and defend a certain cycling heritage. I rode BMXs and early mountain bikes of the 80's, borrowed and kept 70's steel road and touring bikes from my elders and later blissfully surfed the successive waves of mtb and road bike innovations in the 90's: clipless pedals, suspension forks, disc brakes and ergonomic STI levers... But in the last 10-15 years, things started turning sour, the multiplication of proprietary standards, full integration, smart suspensions, carbon and hydraulics seem to have led to this epitome of tech folly: the rise of electronic shifting.

When you reach a certain age, you have seen enough to take a step back, think about what you stand to gain and realize everything you lost on the way.

Bicycles are a great means to exercise, travel, relax, escape, commute and push your limits, but they were also once incredibly versatile, reliable, affordable and easy to service and repair at home. Now, with all the electronic bling added, it has become a formula 1: a very expensive, very specialized and very complex machine, which requires a lot of different tools to service and keep on the road, with hard to find spare parts or required apps installed on your up-to-date smartphone...

The bikes I've always dreamed of are all made of metal, they have cables that run externally to shift gears and pull brakes and only require a handful of basic tools to service. I know, that's old school, but I also know that I can keep riding those bikes until I die without ever having to recharge a battery or plug in a computer for a firmware update, if something doesn't work, it takes me 2 minutes to figure out what's wrong and another 2 to go about fixing it (and usually with just a set of Allen keys...).

Life is short, skip the headaches, keep the cables !

That said, enjoy the summer and go ride your beautifully simple mechanical bicycle.

Filed under: General By: oTm
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