So for you non-cyclists you are going to find this a bit strange. Over the last couple of years as I have got right into my bike riding (no I have never really had an interest in golf), I find myself doing something bizarre. And I believe I am not the only one.

I picked up my MTB steed today from City Bike Depot after they installed a new set of forks in the ongoing scheme that is my custom MTB build. Custom in that I have not bought the bike all assembled, but rather it is the sum of a set of separate parts whose conglomeration is continually evolving as I can afford it. I didn’t bring my helmet or riding gear, so walked the bike home past some well used bike paths here in Sydney. But as each pedaling rider passed me I found myself perving, and not at the riders.

You see, us cyclists have got many reasons why we ride and enjoy the two wheel thrill. Some of it is the freedom of travel and adventure. Some of it is the speed. Some of it is the fitness and challenge in pushing yourself. Sometimes it is the mateship. And for a lot of us it is the machinery. I, along with and many of my mates who cycle, find myself constantly checking out other people’s bikes and the sum of their parts (or components) as they rush past. It is strange! Sometimes I am not even noticing the rider. But I am looking at the bike, its colour, its frame geometry, and its components. It says a lot about the engine moving the wheels along. Sometimes it shows how serious they are about their riding. Often it indicates how well they take care of their steed. But in some cases it shows a unique aspect of that rider’s personality. A couple of days ago walking home I noticed a rider on an old steel frame Peugeot bike. These bikes always pique my interest in the same way that some people look at vintage cars – they are classics. But on further inspection, I realised that this classic had a top end groupset installed throughout with race level aluminium clincher wheels. The equivalent of a guy who owns an old Holden Monaro, but under the bonnet was a top of the line V8 engine with electronic engine control and a set of modern mag wheels. This rider was serious about his riding! And yet it also told me that he respected the past and the art that was the old Peugeot bike.

Respect!

Not envy, but respect. Many of us are looking at other people’s steeds with a hint of jealousy, but the thing I focus on is what can that rider unleash on those two wheels? What adventure will that steed bring to their rider and will they unleash it’s potential.

So I will probably continue to check out other bikes, and allow my mind to wander about where they are going to take their set of wheels – and my wife will still never understand.

But back to my MTB steed, the new set of forks are wicked! I got them for less than half the original price, as they were old 2012 stock being run out. Still they are awesome, and my custom build is not far away from its final evolutionary state. Throughout the build I kept a running blog of the build on schemer as to how it was all coming together. I made a couple of people laugh when I broadcast the fact that my wife found out I used her kitchen scales to weigh the components. The bike has come together through a combination of some parts I had from my old bike and old season (2009, 2010, 2011) components that were top end at the time but were being flogged at 40-60% of their original price. Bargain build all-round.

I love it, and my little Pok does too! Tomorrow I will take him out riding with me, and he will be in the trailer attached on my rear wheel – either blabbering away with joy or asleep. He too will probably be checking out some other bikes too.

MTB Steed