Drive My Bike

How To Ride A Bike Forever
December 2, 2008, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t posted for a while because… I’ve been quite busy… and frankly I haven’t been motivated enough to sit down and write a post. What’s funny though is that I still have all kinds of ideas going through my head that I’d like to post, just not enough desire to sit down and type them out. Oh well… this one will start things off again.


I read a great piece the other day from a 1994 Bridgestone Bicycle Catalogue. (I had no idea they made bikes. I thought they were just the tire guys.) This piece is from a scan of the catalog, which was posted by Sheldon Brown on his website. I copied the text from the scan…


How To Ride A Bike Forever

1. Ride When You Like.

Don’t ride out of guilt over last night’s meal. Don’t be a slave to your bike, or else you’ll resent it, and feel guilty whenever you think about it or look at it. Soon you’ll be avoiding it altogether. If all your rides are like a swimmer’s workout, you’ll burn out on bikes as fast as swimmers burnout on laps. Ride when you want to ride.

2. Go Slowly.

Don’t push yourself too hard, physically or mentally. Don’t ride with racers or obsessive aerobicizers. (If you’re a racer, don’t race with riders; let them be.) Learn to relax on your bike. Of course your bike can be a tremendous tool to build cardiovascular fitness, but why let that get in the way? Unless you race, you can rely on something else, like running, to get fit and lose weight. Running is more efficient for this anyway.

3. Go Short.

A ten-minute ride is always worth it, even though it won’t elevate your heart rate to your “target training level” and keep it there for twelve minutes. (Or is it supposed to be eleven? Or fourteen?)

4. Don’t Keep Track.

If you never use an on-board computer or a heart rate monitor, you can ride with us any time. Avoid “logs.” Forget the graphs and the home computer programs. Keep your bicycle free of extraneous wires and LEDs. You don’t need them.

5. Own More Than One Bike.

This is not a commercial message! Runners have learned that nothing improves a run as much as a new pair of shoes, or shorts, or socks, or something. Bikes, unfortunately, cost a lot more, but the effect is the same. Make your bicycles so different that your experience on one is unlike the other — a mountain bike and a road bike, a multispeed and a single speed, or a clunker, or a recumbent. For some people, even different handlebars are enough of a change. It’s worth a try.

6. Learn How To Fix Your Bike.

Learn to fix a flat. Learn how to install a wheel. Learn how to adjust derailleurs. It’s all easy, and you’ll never feel at ease on a bike if you’re at its mercy. Being able to fix your bike will give you enormous confidence and satisfaction, not to mention self-sufficiency.

7. Don’t Chase Technology.

You will never catch it, and if you pursue it year after year it will break your wallet in half. Some wonderful things have happened to bicycles in the last fifteen years, but so have a lot of dumb things. You don’t need a fancy machine with the latest equipment to enjoy something that is so joyous and simple. A simple, reliable bike will do.

So there you go… “How to Ride A Bike Forever”. As I read through this piece, I kept seeing myself in these words. I have had to force myself to slow down and just enjoy the ride. Instead of getting a new bike, my current ride is a rebuilt Trek that still has plenty of life in it. I’m not the most stylish rider on the road… right now warmth and function are more important to me. I don’t have a cycle computer on my rebuilt Trek that I’ve been riding lately, and I haven’t been logging any of my riding for a month or so. All that doesn’t seem to matter that much anymore. Biking is just something I do. I still need to remind myself to enjoy the ride, but the newness has worn off now. Hopping on the saddle and pedaling somewhere is familiar and comfortable.

I like that.

Thanks to the late Sheldon Brown for scanning this piece, and to Urban Velo for pointing it out.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Riding my bike is not about where it takes me physically, but more important where it takes me mentally. In the process the journey is fun and I like that.

Leave it to Sheldon Brown to still be involved in bicycling. 🙂 Great posting.

Comment by Bob

Reminds me of biking as a kid. We never had speedometers, kept up with mileage or the latest technical innovations. We rode because it was fun and got us to where we needed to go. Great article and a great reminder.

Comment by Greg

I enjoyed reading your post. I have 4 bicycles, all old, all steel, all are loved. None look that pretty, but when I’m riding I’m not looking at my bike! 🙂 Thanks for the nice post. Love the picture!

Comment by bicycle daily

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