By Dave Batka – Founder of Wheels Manufacturing
“The bicycle is a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated problems”
I’ve been riding somewhat seriously for over 40 years. Never have I missed a year completely. Not 2 kids and 6 surgeries keeping me off the bike. Not getting fat and old. Not cold weather or 104 degree days. I’ve raced and I’ve ridden double centuries and I’ve put in a 150,000 miles. I’ve bounced off a couple of cars over the years but just about every time I get out on the rig, it is about me and the bike. Sometimes my rides suck but never have I given thought to hanging up the bike. I heard from a guy once who was in his 90’s and still goes on group rides but has to take the shortcut back to the coffee shop at mile 10 but so what? He told he gets a fresh pastry that way, while he waits for everybody to come back in.
These days riding seems complicated to me. Group rides start with everybody getting their phones out and loading aps and getting ready to strava this and that. Or people are stuck in their house “riding” with their “friends” all across the globe instead of actually getting out and riding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the bike as a fitness tool. Nothing is better than a bike for fitness but why not just go out and do it? So it’s a bit chilly? Buy some better clothes. Too hot? Go out butt early but just go.
I own a lot of bikes. I use them for work as I design and manufacture bike parts for a living. They all have a different purpose. Some of them cost like 15 grand and are state of the art and cutting edge through and through. Some are for commuting. One has bigass tires for snow and mud. Another is a super fast gravel bike for tearing through the open space by my house running over snakes. People have always stopped and stared at my bikes. I’ll ride 65 miles to a 12,000 ft summit and some guy will come up to me and ask me about my rig. My bikes are huge so they stand out but really it shouldn’t be about the gear. It should be about the ride. Flat pedaling a fixie down to the local brewpub should be just as fun as putting $750 worth of clothes to roll to your group ride on Sat morning.
One of my favorite lines to tell customers on the phone or via email is simply “it sounds like your mechanical problem is fixed…NOW GO OUT AND RIDE!”
Do me a favor and send me your favorite ride stories to BPDtechguy@gmail.com. No I don’t want to know how much you love my bike parts. That’s a given already😊 What I want to hear is how the bike defines you and how you use it to get through your life. Are you one of those carless obnoxious commuters in Minneapolis who rides when it is -19 in the winter? Ok I’ll listen. Have you had an epiphany on the bike somehow? I want to hear about it. Want to send me pics of the bruises you got from one of our Colorado hailstorms? Yep, I want to see it. If you don’t have a story to send me about you and the bike, why? Maybe it’s time for you to go out and make your own bike story…… See if you can top the 6 ft snake that took me down last year.