Friday, 3 June 2011

Philosophy: To bring or buy a bicycle?

In the planning stage of the trip, I searched the 'net for bicycle stores in Paris and asked around in various online forums. The bicycle professionals urged me to bring my own bicycle on the plane, because it was such a long trip. "It would be better to use a bicycle you know."

After buying the plane ticket, however, I found out that I would need to spend a huge amount of money on bringing my bicycle. Enough money to by a new one. Yet, I was urged to bring a bicycle I know well.

When I bicycled Montreal-Toronto in 1997, I had a 6-gear hybrid. Compared to the 18-gear road bike Hugh was riding, I was struggling. I now have an 18-gear hybrid, and understand completely the difference this makes on a long trip. Or a short one, for that matter. So stuck to my own philosophy: adapt.

I'm not in a competition. I have plenty of time. There is a backup plan. Completion is not a requirement. And most importantly, the journey is by bicycle, but the bicycle is not the journey.

The last few months before leaving for Paris, I pulled my old rusty bicycle out of winter storage and started on the spring cleaning and repairs. Instead of pulling it into the local store for a fix-up, I needed to learn every little detail myself. It's not rocket science. And it's time well spent for anyone who owns a bicycle. Not only can you do all the adjustments yourself, but the more you understand the subtleties of the mechanics, you get better use from your bicycle, and you take better care of it. You have everything to win.

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