Riding the South

The blog of Scott and Jenny Morris

No, it's not

about the bike

By Scott Morris

OK, I admit it.

I’m the guy who spends a small fortune on a lightweight titanium handlebar bolt to shave a half-ounce off my bicycle when it would be more efficient just to lose five pounds. Or 10. OK, 25.

Most serious bicyclists are obsessed with the weight of their machines because less weight means more speed, especially while climbing.

But I have this problem.

I like to eat. A lot.

Skinny people
I hate skinny people. They tend to go off and leave me and they rarely stop for snacks. So I hang out with folks who appreciate fine dining as much as I do.

“I ride so I can eat,” a friend confessed one day as he lumbered down the road enjoying a king-size Snickers.

“Hey, I’m with you buddy,” I said.

Our conversations usually revolve around what we plan to throw on the grill when we finish riding.

It’s tough being a Clydesdale in a sport designed for 3-year-old thoroughbreds. There isn’t enough Lycra in the world to make us aerodynamic. The evil forces of gravity turn hills into hell. To our credit, however, we can speed past runaway trucks down mountains and we provide job security for Little Debbie.

Performance enhancing
Bicycling.com recently reported that a professional cyclist crashed his sleek road bike on a mountainous course in New Mexico. The wreck ruined his derailleur, and his team car was too far away to replace his bike, so he borrowed an old Specialized Stumpjumper from a fan and finished the race. In fact, he actually caught up with other competitors while pedaling the 1980s model mountain bike, which weighed twice as much as their machines.

So, as the title of the Lance Armstrong book confirms, “It’s Not About the Bike.”

Of course, with Lance, it was about performance-enhancing drugs.

Mechanical doping
A new ethical problem, called mechanical doping, is invading professional cycling. Engineers invented an electric motor that can be hidden in the seat post to give the rider an extra boost.

One pro mountain biker has already been suspended for using a secret motor.

Officials at the Tour de France are so worried about this issue they plan to scan bikes with an MRI machine to catch cheaters.

All this despicable doping, mechanical and otherwise, is one of the reasons I chose not to race in the Tour de France this year.

Instead, I plan to devote myself to cycling events that play to my strengths like Bikes N BBQ, the 27th Annual Pumpkin Pie Ride, the Swiss Cheese and Spotted Cow Bicycle Tour, the All You Can Eat Century and the Last Cheeseburger Ride.

But first, I’m going to buy a new $500 carbon fiber handlebar stem to make myself lighter and faster.