Tag Archives: cycling

An early, strong influence in my life died today. RIP Leonard Nimoy (Spock).

bio_lnimoy_highres_article[1]It can’t possibly come as a surprise that I was a bit of a nerd in grade & high school. In fact, I’m remembering, for the first time in ages, one of my school nicknames. “Mr. Scientific.” Odd that I’d not thought about that since school, 40 years ago.

The attraction to Star Trek and Spock in particular was logic. Making sense out of a nonsensical world, which pretty much defines being a teenager just as much as it defines someone who’s at the fringes of any spectrum, political, religious or financial. Logic, or pretending to be logical, allows you to construct a scenario that makes sense to you, a rational way to explain irrational things. Everything else can still be whacko, but you’ve got a path.

There was also Spock’s sense of alienation, being different from those around him. Again, a teen anthem, at least for me.

And finally, and this is what really helped out with my then-chronic Osgood-Schlatter disease, the idea that pain existed only in the mind, and if you could control your mind, you could control pain. Drugs weren’t the answer to pain management; changing your perception of the pain, the experience of pain, was. Worst-case scenario, the pain would be gone at some point, and all that separated you from that point was time, and what is time anyway? In bike racing I relished pain; I’d take it out and imagine it outside my body, looking at me as I climbed, fueling my effort. Totally derived from Star Trek/Spock. An example of Spock’s mind over matter can be found in this short Star Trek clip.

My kids are going to read this and think yeah, Dad’s a nut case. Knew that. My wife will read this and think nothing new here, move along, I’ve lived with it for 39 years, what’s another couple of decades. And I’m thinking, of all the influences for good and bad on a teenager’s life, Star Trek was up at the top of those “good.” Even Leonard Nimoy’s death pointed to an amazingly-positive thing about Star Trek. He died of pulmonary complications related to heavy smoking back in the day. Reading that, I realized that nobody smoked on Star Trek. A show in the 60’s, when everybody smoked. But not in Star Trek’s world. Amazing thing, that.

While reminiscing, I recall quite vividly the first time I saw a Star Trek episode. It came on past my bedtime/TV time (I would have been 10 on December 15, 1966 when it first aired), but we’d inherited this ancient B&W TV from my grandparents that sat in a corner of my room, and I’d turn down the volume and dim the screen and see what’s on. I came across the classic Star Trek episode Balance of Terror.  To say I was mesmerized is an understatement! It remains one of the best-written interstellar space battles ever (which makes sense, given that it’s largely a re-write of “The Enemy Below”, one of the best WWII submarine vs destroyer movies ever).

RIP Leonard Nimoy.

Are you riding the right bike? How can you tell?

2 Headlights, 2 taillights, camera, Garmin computer, what, me, geeked out?

Many people, perhaps most, aren’t riding the right bike. Know how you can tell? Could be because you’re not on it right now. Do you look for reasons to ride someplace? Or do you drive because it’s more convenient?

I bring this up because this morning by daughter, who works in our Redwood City store, had to drive to work today (ear infection so she’s been told not to ride, and, unlike me, she’s sensible and does what the doctor says). It would be super-easy to just get in the car with her and go to work, and later drive home. Avoid the 400ft climb home and having to take a shower before dinner.

Umm… no. I’d much rather ride. I feel alive on my bike. It fits great, it feels like it wants to fly with every pedal stroke. My mind is engaged as I share the road with others, whereas in a car I’d be in drone mode.

On my commute home I often tell myself that I’m going to take it easy, but after the first two stop lights you get to are green, it’s inevitably all-systems-go for a fast ride home. My bike expects this. It’s dark, but I’m lit up with two tail lights, two headlights. Cars see me from a distance, and I live for that sound of their tires over bots dots, telling me they’re moving over to give me room. A long day at work and my bike has put me in the zone.

I get home breathless (I live at the end of that 400ft climb) and I’m still breathing hard when I enter the house. My wife asks if I’m OK, and I’m thinking, day after day, this is what I am, this is what my bike and I do, I’m not only OK but I’m alive.

So what is the “right bike?” It’s the bike that you can’t walk past without wanting to get out and ride. It’s the bike that you go out on a 70 mile ride earlier in the day and then later you might be running errands in a car, seeing other bikes on the road, and asking yourself why you’re not out riding. What makes such a bike so special? It’s the way it just seems to become a part of you when you’re on it. The feeling that IronMan gets when he puts on his suit. Maybe it’s super-light, maybe it’s got a custom paint job, maybe you live for that perfectly-shifting gear change you get with electric Di2 shifting.

It doesn’t have to be a fast high-end road bike. It might be a hybrid commuter, or a beautifully-styled cruiser. It could be a kid’s first bike. But I’d be really happy if it’s a Trek (or an Electra if a cruiser) from Chain Reaction, because that means we didn’t just sell a bike… we helped create a happier, healthier bike-person.

So where should you buy your next bike? From us, of course, because this is the dream we live for. If you just want to buy a bike because it’s the thing to do and everyone else has one, and it’s just going to sit around like so many other short-term “seemed like a good idea at the time” things, well, there’s lots of places for that. It would be a failure on my part for that to happen. But if you want to risk a life-changing experience, come to us. That’s what we live for. –Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles