Unlike humans, who praise extremes and think that running through a field of live electrical wires over a blanket of anthrax = “badass” (dumbasses), bikes truly understand the art, nay the necessity, of balance.
Bikes don’t do 12 tequila shots, they have a couple of nice pints until they feel satisfied. But that’s not why bikes like beer.
No, the expression of balance, from your bike’s perspective, is this:
X(guilt trip duration) + Y(guilt trip intensity) = Z(lovey dovey awesomeness) + 1
I like to call this the “entrapment ratio.” Let me explain.
You know how your bike will make you feel like garbage, either because you’ve ignored it, you’re getting fat, or just because?
Well, for how many of you has this resulted in your never getting on your bike again? I would almost venture a guess at none, but I’m pretty sure that at least someone has had a nervous breakdown following an extra brutal guilt trip from a rogue bitter, resentful bike. (If that’s you, I have to wonder why you’re even reading this. What do you care?)
But for most of you, you’re still riding. You know why? It’s not because you’re tough as all that, you weenie. It’s because your bike, at precisely the right moment, suddenly turned around and gave you the ride of your life, even if you didn’t realize it (bikes can be sneaky like that).
The reason why this happens, well, I’ll get to that. It’s got something to do with why bikes like beer, but it’s not the exact reason.
But when this happens is due to the entrapment ratio. Your bike will never issue a greater total amount of shame-inducing guilt trippiness than it will lovey-dovey awesomeness. It may induce a long, crazy stint of “yeah, you know what? Your really kinda suck” or one particularly brutal “why do you even bother, you fat loser? Ugh.” But the laws of bike nature state that these must be balanced out by some incidence of “you rock my two-wheeled world.”
The following are a few common signs your bike has enacted the lovey-dovey side of the entrapment ratio:
- There is a tailwind the whole way. Even when you’re riding an out-and-back on the Big Island of Hawaii (if you’ve actually done that, bite me).
- You walk by the mirror in your tightest kit and consider hitting on yourself, because DAAmn.
- You get a really, really, reallllly great idea for dinner, a career change, or a quippy status update mid-ride, and you don’t forget it.
- You catch up with, then quickly drop, the guy in white bike shorts riding the Roubaix with Di2.
- You decide to do an extra 20 or 30 miles just because.
- You find yourself clearing your calendar for another race, just to get another chance to show how badass you and your bike are.
- You stop by the bike shop post-ride, because you feel great. And you’re pretty sure you smell great. And you want to avg-mph-drop to the shop guys (yeah, you know you do). And you’re going to buy your bike a present.
And there you are, thinking that everything’s going to be A-OK. So you’re once again extra motivated to ride more and ride faster. That’s the entrapment ratio. And it works.