The order of effects :: Part II.

Continued from Part I...

There are those, like me, that take a conservative tack and do the component shopper's equivalent of betting on the favourite team at home with a full, healthy roster...buying things that were new advances at one time, but have survived long enough to be towards the top of the standardization list. This means: Easy availability at even the most sparsely stocked non-enthusiast shops, readily available tools, and proven track records of longevity...generally for pretty reasonable prices, even at retail. Perceived lower levels of "stiffness" and "performance" as well as higher weight are acceptable trade-offs for long service life, reliability, ease of field servicing, and the corresponding excellent value they provide over time. 

There are others that are incredibly enthusiastic about new advances, have the disposable income to "buy to try", and a penchant for constantly tinkering with their bikes, even spending a large amount of their riding time in analysis mode and pondering further improvements. These are the folks that drive a lot of the talk in internet discussion and social media platforms, providing a long trails of effusive praise arcing across the sky like so many thrown rolls of toilet paper...all the result of pretty minimal service time + bi-pedal mileage. The snowball gets rolling and soon enough there are very firm, unwavering partisan edicts about how this new improvement leaves the components of the past in its wake...well, the wreckage of them anyway as it blew said older technology out of the water.

I remember hearing similar sentiments at NORBA races in the 90s from people riding ProFlex 753s with Spin wheels.

Be it sports talk, political "discussion", or bicycle component analysis...time generates far more people who felt driven to draw a very definite line in the sand for unknown reasons versus people who shrugged at it all and came to their own conclusions using hindsight that might have involved some walking and pushing. That's not a pat rejection of all that is new. That's pretty silly. I have no desire to go back and ride a 1" quill stem off-road and I sure like sealed bearings. But, some inherent conservatism is bred within when the focus is bike riding rather than bike having.

As I mentioned before, the order of effects seems to be best represented in choices made for long, spirited bikepacking rides without readily available services for long stretches. Where "calories in versus calories out" is a first order effect for weight loss, "time on the bike" is a first order effect for making riding a bicycle a long way pleasurable. This effect has other corollaries: dialed bike fit, dialed gear for variable weather conditions (or a toughening to "do with what's here" or "do without"), improved confidence, a general sense of self-sufficiency, and a less cloudy picture of what really matters for such travel...all borne from "time on the bike." Who wouldn't benefit from any of that?

Does minutia beyond "time on the bike" have an effect? Of course it does. Everything you do is representative of cause and effect, and the questions and answers are subjective too. 

So just give up.

I'll outline what I mean in Part III.

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