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A bike should neither appear nor disappear

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

A bike should neither appear nor disappear

Old 03-24-22, 04:15 AM
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A bike should neither appear nor disappear

Ok hear me out.

When we are riding around on our little bikes and they, along with much else, disappear from our attention, we are likely trapped in thought, riding on autopilot, not really there, until something out of the pattern appears. We all know which types of routes and conditions particularly promote that kind of cycling. The bike effectively disappears.

On the contrary, we may be out there and contort in discomfort because we are on the wrong type of saddle, have general positional bike fit issues, or hear a dry chain or that mysterious intermittent clicking that has us oh so interested. The bike stands out causing some sort of issue or niggle, it appears.

Both of these are not terribly safe options, riding under a spell or frequently looking down at the derailleurs seriously hinder spatial awareness, dare I say enjoyment.

It would follow that ideally, a bicycle should neither appear in the mind by standing out through misfit related discomfort or mechanicals that preventative maintenance could have avoided, and likewise should never disappear along with the rest of the ride behind a veil of thought fog.

Riding with a neither appearing nor disappearing bike feels alert and alive. Many know it.

For those who haven't ridden such a paradoxical bike in a while, one that's just there along with all the rest around us in equal standing, this may be the place to share what worked well for people here. What I found helpful was frequently exploring new routes and finding them from referencing and memorising a map or landmarks prior to the ride, no GPS. Or riding routes with varied surfaces and terrain at a good pace that demands proactive bike handling within a reasonable safety margin. Eliminating or cutting down technology distractions whilst riding. Getting a professional bike fit with subsequent hardware changes and adjustments to avoid short term discomfort or long term injuries. Being picky about the exact fit of clothing. Keeping on top of maintenance for a trustworthy and predictable bike setup. Not resisting or stressing about aspects of the ride I can't change. Setting slightly ridiculous riding targets, like longer distances or intimidating climbs, and just doing it, and managing things as they are met.

Do you know the type of bike I am talking about, and how do you find it?
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Old 03-24-22, 04:52 AM
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Transparent Aluminum is the next big thing in frame material.
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Old 03-24-22, 05:03 AM
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I find that my bikes tend to disappear only after I carefully and painstakingly balance my wheels.
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Old 03-24-22, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster
I find that my bikes tend to disappear only after I carefully and painstakingly balance my wheels.
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Old 03-24-22, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
…Do you know the type of bike I am talking about, and how do you find it?
Yes, I have 5 of them and they’re all in my head.
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Old 03-24-22, 05:56 AM
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I don't know about my bikes disappearing, but I have Strava Beacon in the event I disappear my wife can find me before having the authorities launch a silver alert.
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Old 03-24-22, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by znomit
Transparent Aluminum is the next big thing in frame material.
"How do we know he didna invent it?"
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Old 03-24-22, 06:34 AM
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Hello. What's this thread about?
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Old 03-24-22, 06:40 AM
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I worry about my bike disappearing if I leave it out on the front porch too long.
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Old 03-24-22, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Hello. What's this thread about?
I was wondering the same thing. Looks like someone ingested or inhaled something that was psychoactive.

My 3 bikes never disappear - they are in my head and in my basement.
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Old 03-24-22, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
Do you know the type of bike I am talking about, and how do you find it?
I do not know of the type of bike you are talking about.
The ideal bike has always been described as one which disappears under the rider and you dont think about it.

As for zoning out on a ride, sure I have done that. Autopilot can happen, but that is due to much more than the bike(route, weather, thoughts all need to be ideal). Having a GPS computer in front of me keeps me engaged because I look at current speed, current grade, how far to my next turn, etc.
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Old 03-24-22, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
I do not know of the type of bike you are talking about.
The ideal bike has always been described as one which disappears under the rider and you dont think about it.

As for zoning out on a ride, sure I have done that. Autopilot can happen, but that is due to much more than the bike(route, weather, thoughts all need to be ideal). Having a GPS computer in front of me keeps me engaged because I look at current speed, current grade, how far to my next turn, etc.
Mine is due to too much **** going on in my head. It's never dangerous though.

Last edited by cb400bill; 03-24-22 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 03-24-22, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
My 3 bikes never disappear - they are in my head and in my basement.
One night 11+ years ago someone stole a bike out of my house while I was home and awake. I have not seen it since.
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Old 03-24-22, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
I do not know of the type of bike you are talking about.
The ideal bike has always been described as one which disappears under the rider and you dont think about it.

As for zoning out on a ride, sure I have done that. Autopilot can happen, but that is due to much more than the bike(route, weather, thoughts all need to be ideal). Having a GPS computer in front of me keeps me engaged because I look at current speed, current grade, how far to my next turn, etc.
Mine is due to too much **** going on in my head. It's never dangerous though.
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Old 03-24-22, 09:33 AM
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WTF ...it'll be awhile before, if ever I reach the zen level to understand what this is about much longer to understand what it means.
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Old 03-24-22, 10:02 AM
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Schrödinger had a cat, suppose it stands to reason he would/would not have a bicycle as well
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Old 03-24-22, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
The bike stands out causing some sort of issue or niggle, it appears.
Niggle, please...
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Old 03-24-22, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
When we are riding around on our little bikes and they, along with much else, disappear from our attention, we are likely trapped in thought, riding on autopilot, not really there, until something out of the pattern appears. We all know which types of routes and conditions particularly promote that kind of cycling. The bike effectively disappears.
My bike never fully disappears, likely because I have not attained -- and may never attain -- the level of cycling skills many of you do.

Originally Posted by yaw
On the contrary, we may be out there and contort in discomfort because we are on the wrong type of saddle, have general positional bike fit issues, or hear a dry chain or that mysterious intermittent clicking that has us oh so interested. The bike stands out causing some sort of issue or niggle, it appears.

Both of these are not terribly safe options, riding under a spell or frequently looking down at the derailleurs seriously hinder spatial awareness, dare I say enjoyment.
These issues I have largely dealt with through diligent maintenance, obsessive tinkering, and (last but not least) frequent shopping for bike components.

Originally Posted by yaw
It would follow that ideally, a bicycle should neither appear in the mind by standing out through misfit related discomfort or mechanicals that preventative maintenance could have avoided, and likewise should never disappear along with the rest of the ride behind a veil of thought fog.

Riding with a neither appearing nor disappearing bike feels alert and alive. Many know it.
I know it, and Mazda knows it too! Jinba Ittai | Inside Mazda (mazdausa.com) It is a little cliché, but apt.
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Old 03-24-22, 11:41 AM
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It’s important that nothing is uncomfortable and nothing makes mechanical sounds. Otherwise - whatever. 🤷

​​​​​​If I'm doing an easy ride I'll often be thinking about something or another, typically not the bike. If I'm doing intervals I will often think about reaching the next signpost and then the next, or look at power or just shut off mentally. Sometimes I'll notice how lovely the bike is or how something is off and needs tinkering with.
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Old 03-24-22, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bahula03
Schrödinger had a cat, suppose it stands to reason he would/would not have a bicycle as well
I have a Schrödinger bike. It's a superposition of a road bike and a gravel bike, but it becomes one or the other every time I ride it.
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Old 03-24-22, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by yaw
Ok hear me out.

When we are riding around on our little bikes and they, along with much else, disappear from our attention, we are likely trapped in thought, riding on autopilot, not really there, until something out of the pattern appears. We all know which types of routes and conditions particularly promote that kind of cycling. The bike effectively disappears.

On the contrary, we may be out there and contort in discomfort because we are on the wrong type of saddle, have general positional bike fit issues, or hear a dry chain or that mysterious intermittent clicking that has us oh so interested. The bike stands out causing some sort of issue or niggle, it appears.

Both of these are not terribly safe options, riding under a spell or frequently looking down at the derailleurs seriously hinder spatial awareness, dare I say enjoyment.

It would follow that ideally, a bicycle should neither appear in the mind by standing out through misfit related discomfort or mechanicals that preventative maintenance could have avoided, and likewise should never disappear along with the rest of the ride behind a veil of thought fog.

Riding with a neither appearing nor disappearing bike feels alert and alive. Many know it.

For those who haven't ridden such a paradoxical bike in a while, one that's just there along with all the rest around us in equal standing, this may be the place to share what worked well for people here. What I found helpful was frequently exploring new routes and finding them from referencing and memorising a map or landmarks prior to the ride, no GPS. Or riding routes with varied surfaces and terrain at a good pace that demands proactive bike handling within a reasonable safety margin. Eliminating or cutting down technology distractions whilst riding. Getting a professional bike fit with subsequent hardware changes and adjustments to avoid short term discomfort or long term injuries. Being picky about the exact fit of clothing. Keeping on top of maintenance for a trustworthy and predictable bike setup. Not resisting or stressing about aspects of the ride I can't change. Setting slightly ridiculous riding targets, like longer distances or intimidating climbs, and just doing it, and managing things as they are met.

Do you know the type of bike I am talking about, and how do you find it?
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Old 03-24-22, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Hello. What's this thread about?
Metaphysics
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Old 03-24-22, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Niggle, please...
If I had a niggle for every time someone said that to me....
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Old 03-24-22, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by yaw
ok hear me out.

When we are riding around on our little bikes and they, along with much else, disappear from our attention, we are likely trapped in thought, riding on autopilot, not really there, until something out of the pattern appears. We all know which types of routes and conditions particularly promote that kind of cycling. The bike effectively disappears.

On the contrary, we may be out there and contort in discomfort because we are on the wrong type of saddle, have general positional bike fit issues, or hear a dry chain or that mysterious intermittent clicking that has us oh so interested. The bike stands out causing some sort of issue or niggle, it appears.

Both of these are not terribly safe options, riding under a spell or frequently looking down at the derailleurs seriously hinder spatial awareness, dare i say enjoyment.

It would follow that ideally, a bicycle should neither appear in the mind by standing out through misfit related discomfort or mechanicals that preventative maintenance could have avoided, and likewise should never disappear along with the rest of the ride behind a veil of thought fog.

Riding with a neither appearing nor disappearing bike feels alert and alive. Many know it.

For those who haven't ridden such a paradoxical bike in a while, one that's just there along with all the rest around us in equal standing, this may be the place to share what worked well for people here. What i found helpful was frequently exploring new routes and finding them from referencing and memorising a map or landmarks prior to the ride, no gps. Or riding routes with varied surfaces and terrain at a good pace that demands proactive bike handling within a reasonable safety margin. Eliminating or cutting down technology distractions whilst riding. Getting a professional bike fit with subsequent hardware changes and adjustments to avoid short term discomfort or long term injuries. Being picky about the exact fit of clothing. Keeping on top of maintenance for a trustworthy and predictable bike setup. Not resisting or stressing about aspects of the ride i can't change. Setting slightly ridiculous riding targets, like longer distances or intimidating climbs, and just doing it, and managing things as they are met.

Do you know the type of bike i am talking about, and how do you find it?
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Old 03-24-22, 02:33 PM
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As my fitness improves, I have moments where I "space out" on some climbs that had felt arduous a week or so prior. I get to the top, and then I realize that there was no involvement mentally, almost a sensation of waking up.

The visual perception of the hills will change as my fitness improves also. They just don't look as steep or long as before. I "space out" because I no longer have the same (real and/or perceived) physical exertion that I once associated with that particular climb, if I maintain the same prior speed of course.

It is a little pleasurable indicator that my fitness is improving. My internal dialogue is like, "I didn't even remember coming up this hill!" Of course I did, but I didn't at the same time. Good stuff.
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