How to Ride a Bike Forever
by Grant Petersen

Ride when you like
Don't ride out of guilt over last night's meal. Don't be a slave to your bike, or else you'll resent it, and feel guilty whenever you think about it or look at it. Soon you'll be avoiding it altogether. If all your rides are like a swimmer's workout, you'll burn out on bikes as fast as swimmers burn out on laps. Ride when you want to ride.

Go slowly
Don't push yourself too hard, physically or mentally. Don't ride with racers or obsessive aerobicizers. (If you're a racer, don't race with riders; let them be.) Learn to relax on your bike. Of course your bike can be a tremendous tool to built cardiovascular fitness, but why let that get in the way?

Go short
A ten-minute ride is always worth it, even though it won't elevate your heartrate to its 'target training level' and keep it there for 12 minutes. (Or is it supposed to be 11? Or 14?)

Don't keep track
If you never use an onboard computer or a heartrate monitor, you can ride with me anytime. Avoid 'logs'. Forget the graphs and the home computer programs. Keep your bicycle free of extraneous wires and leads. You don't need them.

Learn how to fix your bike
Learn to fix a flat. Learn how to install a wheel. Learn how to adjust derailleurs. It's all easy, and you'll never feel at ease on a bike if you're at its mercy. Being able to fix your bike will give you an enormous confidence and satisfaction, not to mention self-sufficiency.

Don't chase technology
You will never catch it, and if you pursue it year after year it will break your wallet in half. Some wonderful things have happened to bicycles in the last 15 years, but so have a lot of dumb things. You don't need a fancy machine with the latest equipment to enjoy something that is so joyous and simple. A simple, reliable bike will do.

Get the best bike you can afford, and grow old with it
Things we keep a long time grow in value to us, and enrich our lives every time we use them. The first objects you'd grab if your house caught fire are probably the old ones, because they can't be replaced. Grow old with the best bike you can afford.


© Grant Peterson
from the 1994 Bridgestone Catalogue

Grant is currently with Rivendell Bicycle Works