Feature Issue #006

Be a pioneer. Find something new.

Shit, these adrenaline highs are the most powerful drug in the world and yet our governments have no idea how to harness them.

But what happens when we lose the enjoyment, or it fades? Then we can either innovate or repeat what we were doing 20 years ago.

Even with our brains compressed in helmets, there’s still room to make the decision to have nothing but pure fun.

When you’re 90 years old. Yes, when you no longer have the strength to even take down your own trousers to pee, that’s when you know it’s done. It’s finished. Look at yourself in the mirror, as your eyes fill with tears whilst you contemplate all the things you didn’t do because you didn’t think it was worth it. Or maybe you did. Maybe you decided to get out there and realise all those ideas that passed through your head, and maybe you broke your balls trying to do so. If that’s the case then there will be no need to cry. If that’s the case, you will be able to look at yourself in that mirror and smile more enthusiastically than fucking Iggy Pop on the cover of Lust for Life. Yes or no. Life, dude – it’s a succession of decisions.

Decisions, like the day you chose to switch asphalt for dirt. Your colleagues raised their eyebrows: were you really considering riding that way? That’s what your colleagues said. A few weeks later, some of your japing colleagues follow you off-road, spraying dirt on the ‘Made in Taiwan’ stickers on their otherwise spotless carbon frames. Who knows, maybe you were the inventor of gravel riding and you never knew it…

Decisions like riding 25 mm tires when everyone else is on 23s at 100 psi. No comfort, no grip, just speed. Then the peloton catches on and swaps to 25 mm but you’ve already moved onto 28s. Or when you ditched the lycra because it made you look like a bratwurst sausage and instead opted for a pair of casual shorts to ride 200 km. Who knows, maybe you were the inventor of new road and you never knew it…

Even with our brains compressed in helmets, there’s still room to make the decision to have nothing but pure fun. But what happens when we lose the enjoyment, or it fades? Then we can either innovate or repeat what we were doing 20 years ago. We need to return to a place when the bicycle gave us nothing but extreme happiness and freedom. Leave the Garmin at home, buy a handmade steel bicycle, wear a woollen jersey, and slide and dance around the house in just your underpants when you’re all alone. Tom Cruise and Risky Business can be held responsible for that kind of behaviour.

  Still like that old time rock ‘n’ roll
that kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
with that old time rock ‘n’ roll

Memories of those days when everything started to make sense as soon as we started pedaling. They won’t go away. The adrenaline kick we still feel every time we break our quadriceps with 600 watts of power, or when we feel like the leaders of the pack, setting a blistering pace of 40 kilometers per hour. Shit, these adrenaline highs are the most powerful drug in the world and yet our governments have no idea how to harness them.


We’re lucky bastards. You know that, right? Lucky, because most of you aren’t 90 years old. Me neither. Which means there’s still time – still time to choose whether we will be crying or laughing whilst gazing into that mirror at the age of 90. It’s a mirror that won’t judge us on whether we lived amongst the clouds or danced over the Devil’s coals. A mirror that won’t judge us before throwing us into paradise or eternal hell. Thank God.

But before arriving at that final moment of reflection, the choices are endless. You can decide to dedicate yourself to destroying KOMs, or take time out on the dirt and gravel because the smell of hot asphalt has become sickening. Ride that handmade frame that’s devoured your family savings…it really doesn’t matter. Do everything that’s humanly possible and everything else that you think isn’t. You decide.

The point is, you’ve got to find something new.

Diane:
You’re not getting any younger, Mark. The world’s changing. Music’s changing. Even
drugs are changing. You can’t stay in here all day dreaming about heroin and Ziggy
Pop.
Mark „Rent Boy“ Renton:
It’s Iggy Pop.
Diane:
Whatever. I mean, the guy’s dead anyway.
Mark:
Iggy Pop’s not dead. He toured last year! Tommy went to see him.
Diane:
The point is, you’ve got to find something new.*

*Quote from the movie Trainspotting, 1996.

Author: Alberto Álvarez Illustrations: Julian Lemme