Sunday, January 08, 2012

Up an island creek without a pedal

For Christmas, I received an S&S hard case for transporting my coupled Surly Trucker Deluxe. Actually, the case didn’t arrive in time, so I received a borrowed case from my friends Adam and Jo-Ann, which I filled with my dismembered Trucker just in time for a trip to Hawaii.

Fortunately, I remember meeting Adam on a downtown street last summer and talking about the advantages of traveling with a bike equipped with S&S couplers. Because it’s easy to dodge the airlines’ unconscionably high fees for flying with a bike, as Adam pointed out, you can take a bike on a trip, and not feel terrible if you never get around to riding it.

Yeah, that’s what I’m getting to. My bike never left the case.

I had every intention of using it to get to the beach for snorkeling, leaving our rental car free for my family to drive for other activities. After all, I wasn’t going to Hawaii to ride. I was going so I could play in the ocean and generally thaw out for a week.

But the weather was hotter than I expected, and our condo was several miles up a long hill covered with lava, dead grass and a baking strip of asphalt with little to no shoulder. For a guy who is in slow-cruising, fat-bike mode this time of year, It just wasn’t very inviting. Long highway rides with all the triathletes training on the nearby Ironman bike course didn’t seem like fun, so I started doing the mental math. It didn’t add up.

Without the advantage of a repair stand, it would take about an hour to reassemble the bike – my large frame and super-long fork/steerer tube had required more disassembly than anticipated (the fork had to travel in a separate box) – and there was no convenient storage space for it once it was assembled. Sticking it in the living room was sure to cause problems. Dealing with all that for maybe a couple of quick rides? I just didn’t want to do it.

I’m sure I’ll take heat from a few friends for not riding in Hawaii, but on a vacation that’s not really about biking, I prefer to ride only if the benefits outweigh the hassle. And I don’t want to make myself ride just for the sake of riding. Bike exist to enhance our lives, not to encumber them.

If it ain’t fun, why bother?


Tony said...

Time to cut down that smokestack, my friend.

Tim said...

There's virtually no spare smokestack to cut. The configuration of the Trucker Deluxe requires a tall steerer tube for a guy my size. I could trim half an inch, but that wouldn't help much and I'm unwilling to give up the option of someday selling the bike to a slightly taller person.

Leo said...

A week in Hawaii and all you can write about is why you didnt ride your bike?

Tim said...

Sad, huh?

bikegirl said...

At least you didn't assemble it THEN not ride it. And, at least you didn't get hit by a car & spend your vacation in a hospital (as happened to Adam).
I'm sure you had a great trip despite not riding. No need to feel bad about that. Now post those non-biking pics!

guido van broekhoven said...

haha! cool post! yes, that's the pity of flying with bikes. if you want cheap you gotta be prepared to go through the hassle... otherwise ''sit still while being shaved''... haha! i did travel with a bike but i travelled with a car, and i placed my bike on a carrier behind the car.. which is awesome, so i had my holidays in spain, and drove with bike on car 1600 kms and did ride the bicycle to the beach and played in the ocean... the ease of car-travel... you gotta love it... tomorrow 15th, doing the 60 km roparun on bike and it's gonna be a toughy, will record it with a garmin forerunner 305 gps receiver as seen on my website and i hope i will complete in a decent time... thanks for looking at mine and leave a comment if you wish!


Char said...

Having a folding bike - a Bike Friday specifically - is very handy for traveling. It does take about a half hour or more to put it together, but it's great to have your bike with you. :) :)