Monday, January 12, 2009

BUI: On Being a Poser

I propose a new BRS policy- all blogs must be posted while Under the Influence....

I remember the day I met Gerald (sigh, romantic music). My first. I didn't know a thing about road bikes, everyone had an idea of what was best for me, a slow person who aspired to long distances. Carbon off-the-rack package with low end components. Gerald's blue and black tones matched my hair perfectly, it felt a little like what it must be lift the veil at an arranged marriage to find with relief and surprise that I liked what I saw. I mentioned to a friend of my brother's what type of bike I was getting. "I just love smoking those posers on their $5000 bikes and their fancy gear on my $150 tin can" came the blase macho voice. The implication clear: I'm a poser, buying beyond my abilities.

Fast forward to post-Tour de Mukilteo 2008. Now a few hundred miles under my belt, but can't keep up with the Boys on the Big hills. I'm too fat, I'm not fit, I just need to get stronger. Crash says a triple crank would make a big difference. It would take too much to put a triple on my current frame, so now I have to buy a new bike. I sent out my polls, and got a variety of responses. Guth says carbon. Robin and Toby (my Capitol Hill Ironman friends) say Ti. Not just Ti, but custom. That is what Robin rides now, a Davidson. Ti is light, absorbs shocks, is indestructible, travels well. Crash says, "I know you, you will feel like a poser and hate yourself. You do not need a $million bike, it's like getting a diamond encrusted platinum flute" or some version of that. Robin says, everyone else is doing whatever they can to have an advantage, why not? you can tell the difference, it's like turning a fine faucet, it's just solid. it makes riding easier, more fun, and if you put the hours in the saddle, it's worth every penny". And as for my bizarre sentimental attachment to Gerald? "It's not like cheating on a partner, it's like getting a 2nd child... you love each child for their individual traits". As a selling point, Toby introduced me to each of his 5 bicycles.

So what is a poser?
I raised the question to Robin and Toby. Is it like the middle-aged weekend warrior Suburban Koreans who buy the Most Expensive Tennis Raquets or the Newest Golf Clubs but couldn't really tell the difference beyond what they read on the web. After getting a few well-deserved Middle Aged jokes (I forget they are >50 yo because of their extreme fitness), I am talked into believing it doesn't matter how good you are, if you love it and spend the time on it. that is as close to "deserving" as you need to get. Who deserves the diamond-encrusted flute more, the kid who is talented but doesn't give a crap, or the grind to lives for flute but who sucks? Or perhaps more aptly, the poor talented kid or the fat rich kid (me?). Other people who work all day but don't have families buy clothes, a car, or a boob job, why not a sweet ride?

So I went to Elliott Bay Cycles yesterday with the Ironmen. I see this beautiful Ti bike that comes apart and fits in a suitcase. Sold. I went back today with Gerald and talked pedals, saddles, handlebars with Bill Davidson. He watched me ride and took measurements. He asked me what I was looking for and what problems I encounter with Gerald. This guy clearly knows his bikes and loves/ takes pride in his craft. I felt like I was being interviewed at a doctor's appointment and being diagnosed, getting my ignorant questions patiently answered.

I put a down payment and I swear I was not this excited when I signed for my condo, my car, or my marriage license. I feel like a kid in a candy shop. If I let fear of poserhood stop me, I would not have tried a marathon, wouldn't have gotten a Powell flute in high school, wouldn't have applied for my job. COULDN'T face people every day. It's OK to be a poser as long as you're honest about it, right?


  1. Dang Gerald, I think you could go on tour and do a "You might be a Poser if"... First off, that jersey kicks ass. Next, I like your bottom line analysis. If it makes you happy, and you know what you're doing, then go for it. I'm just glad you'll be out on the hills of Mukilteo. Can't wait to find out your bike's new name too...

  2. Congrats on your new addition to the family! I can't wait to meet him. And to introduce him to a certain 16% grade I know of.

  3. jersey does rock. As to the BUI, what are my other options really?
    Agree with most of it, except Powell flutes are hot garbage. I used to love playing circles around posers and their Powells on my Artley back in the day. I don't mean to brag, but the dreams of more than one Korean family for their "prodigy" were crushed when they came up against me on my Artley, or as I liked to call it, "The Rock and The Hard Place". All that said, if you are not playing a Muramatzu, you might as well wrap you lips around an exhaust pipe. You just can't get that kind of intonation on a Powell. Thats word to my boy Jethro T.