...(alternate, more pervy title: Lucy's been stripped down)
About a week ago, I noticed that on my many death-defying adventures about town, I was feeling a bit bogged down. First I thought to blame my level of PHYSICAL FITNESS, which probably isn't the greatest, considering the lack of time spent on the bike in these few winter months. But when my egoistic instincts kicked in, I felt that the blame needed to be placed elsewhere. I looked to my bike, Lucy, instead.
I found that I had fallen into the treacherous and self-perpetuating trap which befalls many cyclist - triathletes, most notably. Namely, this: I had too much crap on my bike.
Now I'm (hopefully) not going to become one of those guys who cares about weight over style or function, nor am I going to start measuring my burden in tenths of grams. However, I took it upon myself to do a little bit of weight management, taking everything unnecessary off of the bike.
When I finished I found a pile at my feet, comprised of all of those things which fall into the "well, that might someday be useful" category. As you can see in the following photo, these are the things which have been, at some point, strapped, bolted, or duct-taped to my bike.
The list includes: Steel/Teflon cable lock, LED head/tail light set, emergency flat repair kit, spare reflectors (front, rear, and wheel-mounted), adjustable bottle holder, high-PSI hand-pump, multitool, spare tube, handlebar-mounted horn (for comedic effect), and, that's right, a GPS speedometer/navigation system.
Granted, all of these things are useful for their purposes. But the trap to which I previously alluded was the fallacious thinking that I needed all of them for every ride. For example, if I'm just popping down to the coffee shop at midday, I only need exactly one of these items - and not even that if I'm taking my bike into the shop with me. So I've simply done away with them until I know I'll be requiring their services. Now, Lucy is looking slimmer than ever, riding very well after a bit of a tune-up and some new chain oil, and we're off to the races (figuratively).
Simplify, simplify, simplify. That's my motto. (also Thoreau, coincidentally, who I can only presume got it from me)
The punchline to this particular story, and also the take-home message is this. Check the basic functioning of the bike before you start forcibly removing items from your bike. It turns out, that the underlying reason for Lucy's sluggish responsiveness was nothing more than a maladjusted rear brake set, which had picked up some tension and was (apparently) constantly rubbing the back rim. I was, in effect, pedaling and braking at the same time, all the time.
So there you have it. Simplify. But also, don't be dumb.