Well it might depending on context. So when sufficient time and therapy has passed, I’ll test that hypothesis through a full disclosure from the Reykjavik Penis Museum, but today let’s firm up on how different widths perform when wiggled about in the moist stuff*
In fact let’s not. Because that bottom half of the Internet inhabited by those who confused marketing with progress have already bored me almost to death by taking extreme positions on the margins of the argument. So let me spare you the dubious pleasure of a debate over the difference an inch or two may actually make, and instead make time for a proper discussion on friendship and community.
Those bikes have different sized wheels. What’s way more important is they are piloted by different riders. One of which was – and I’m not tending to the melodramatic here – lucky to survive a horrific crash with an onrushing car. An accident that left him with some injuries that will never properly heal, and an understandable lack of motivation to get back on the very thing which nearly did for him.
Not being terribly clever or sophisticated, the rest of that close knit wheeled obsessives, who are lucky enough to count him as a good mate, have been gently encouraging him to venture out and ride bikes, have a laugh, drink beer and bump the release on the stress valve. We felt that’d be pretty good rehabilitation therapy since it’s a group with an almost fundamentalist belief that anything involving bikes is about infinite to the power of a lot better than doing anything else.
So we’ve been bringing the fella back into the fold which hasn’t been easy with a winter than promised snow but delivered floods, and trails which have been on the shitty side of mostly unridable for way more than a few weeks. Today hardly represented the zenith of improving conditions with the rain and clouds of this past week being our welcome for an early start into an inevitable headwind.
Not riding for a bit makes riding right now a lot harder. But we got the climbs done in a kind of sociable spin which represented normality before the advent of Strava. And while it certainly wasn’t hard and dusty under-tyre, it wasn’t that mud sucking drudge of even a few weeks ago. Mud’s okay when it’s warm and interspersed with sections of ‘wooah to me..to you.. ‘ sashaying on technical singletrack.
Rolling on, we found ourselves entering a favourite descent which opens up with a little gap jump. It’s claimed a few victims over the years one of whom was with us today. I nearly added another one having failed to generate sufficient speed through the clag before hitting the take off. For clarity, I was fine, it was the poor bugger behind me who had to ‘find some moves‘ in order to land on a bit of trail not predicated to exit him out the front door. Talk about adding injury to injury.
I did apologise at trails end, but was cut off by a big grin and the look of a man who might be remembering why we chuck our middle aged bodies at trees in the hope we may miss them. We rode quite a bit and laughed a lot more before making a break for the pub where various offspring appear to have the cycling community pretty much grid locked for at least another generation. Whether that is rapid and nerveless downhilling aged about 11, or ripping up the Newport velodrome aged not much more, it really doesn’t matter.
We all sat and talked excitedly about riding. I accepted a challenge to go ride the boards knowing my arse shall be presented to me on a plate by a lad many years from voting age. I watched another small child nick his dads bike and sprint up and down the road in a manner not becoming of his father. I chased a cheap laugh by mentioning this at some volume. I’m happy to report it got exactly the type of laugh that any crack amongst like-minded individuals will from those who have a shared love of a thing without taking themselves terribly seriously.
Today reminded me of some really quite important stuff. Riding matters, fitness matters, speed matters, improvement matters, equipment matters…. yada… meh.. whatever.. because they are massively subsumed by why these things are even slightly important. You make great memories with awesome friends, and you are privileged to have days like this when it’s pretty damn life affirming to see smiles on muddy faces which have been through far too much crap, anxiety and angst.
And that’s what I learned. The bike your ride and the size of the wheels really don’t matter at all.
* Since making the regrettable decision to visit that museum, the urge to go long and hard at knob gags has been largely irresistable**
** Worryingly, not that many of my close friends and colleagues have noticed any difference