Buying Speed …

Being old enough to know better must be something that comes to different people at different ages. I doubt that my life expectancy is so great that it will ever come to me.

As a saxophone player I know the temptation to buy a better sound. I also know, from experience, that having made the investment you sound just like you. The horn that you’re trading in can, in the hands of a better player, sound better than you will on the horn you’ve just bought. A well maintained instrument and a great deal of practice is the starting point. Once there the law of diminishing returns will deliver small gains for large outlays.

So, I’m a cyclist now. I really must buy some speed!

What for? Will I race again? Maybe. Will I win? No. Come on, McGee, why is it that your money is burning a hole in your pocket?

It’s that bloody charity ride., the R3R. Maryborough has a 108 km ride that tours the three local reservoirs. I completed the training wheels version (R1R) recently at 22 kph on my shiny new mountain bike. Given a year to prepare how much better can I do?

I could certainly do it quicker on a recumbent bicycle or even slower on a unicycle but either of those would seem eccentric. Five hours in the saddle of my mountain bike is an option but if I chose the right tool for the job it could be considerably less.

Choose the right tool. That is an excellent choice of language. Gayle is well in tune with the notion that you must have the right tool to get the right result. I’ll work on that.

Fat tyres and forgiving forks are certainly the right tools for our local riding. We live on a gravel road and the corrugations round here are cruel. We are nicely placed to ride through some very pretty forest tracks and listen to the birds.

But the race, sorry, charity ride is on bitumen. If I’m going to take a chunk out of that five hours there are a number of places I might find it …

  • More training
  • More weight loss
  • A lighter and …
  • more aerodynamic bike
  • appropriate gear ratios
  • bike shoes
  • road craft

The road bike is on the shopping list. The things to take into consideration are endless. In order to keep some sense of proportion I’ve decided that it will not cost more than our last car! Somewhere on the curve of diminishing returns is the Goldilocks bike. The choice is delicious and totally immune to buyer’s regret … That doesn’t happen until after you’ve parted with the money.

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