“WHOAH…holy shit” he said, feeling the weight and stroking the profile of my best bike.
“Oh my god”, he continued, agog, not quite believing how impressive a good bike can be. “What’s it MADE of?” he asked, with eyes that said: “is this…witchcraft?”
For this non-cyclist, my best bike (aka pride and joy) had blown his mind.
I could barely have been more proud, and he more impressed, if my first born (7 years old) had presented him with a hand-scribbled solution to Einstein’s quest for a unified theory.
I recall wheeling it home from the shop two or three years back, and having a girl flirt with me as if I were a couple of gay men raising a baby. I’m the most obviously married man you’ll ever meet.
No-one flirts with me.
Clearly she was flirting with the bike, and I, as the owner, was simply the go-between.
Cyclists are different though, the interaction is different; they’re used to seeing hot bikes.
A hot bike still has the power to impress but is just one amongst a troupe of hot bikes they might see today. And also, cyclists are the competition. If your hot bike is hotter than their hot bike, you’ll get short shrift.
Jealousy will temper their admiration.
A weird loyalty to their inanimate lump of carbon fibre will prevent them salivating too much over your inanimate lump of carbon fibre.
“And why am I so proud?” I wonder to myself.
It’s a bike that I bought. I didn’t rescue it from a burning building, nurse it back to life, and rehouse it. I didn’t weave the carbon fibre myself. My wife didn’t give birth to it.
And yet, among cyclists I am fiercely protective, and amongst non-cyclists I say: “go on…pick it up…light isn’t it..?”
And I beam with pride as their faces light up.