Fat Biker

Fat Biker – Batteries Not Included

Throwback Thursday.  I wrote this a few years ago, but it all remains true to this day.  I can’t run my manually powered bike without a whole other set of batteries.

Cycling is supposed to be some crunchy-granola-zen “experience” — where oxygen depravation meets smooth pavement to give you a sense of “oneness” with the whole universe.

But then the engineers got involved. What did engineers do? Turn something fun into a fucking job only a nerd could love.

expensive bike with lights

I wanted to keep up with the skinny fucks. So I spent way too much money on a carbon fiber bike with all kinds of “features” that was supposed to end my embarrassment.

It didn’t.

While I was spending, I went ahead and got the “electronic” shifters. Why use your whole wrist to shove a 3-inch “lever” to shift gears, when you can click with your “whittle pinky”?

di2 parts set

Only takes a precise set of motors, wires and batteries to make sure every pedal stroke counts. Actually works as advertised. You can click through gears all day long, and never be wrong.

But you have to remember to charge the battery. Sounds simple. They even give you a little button, push it and if the light is red, charge the battery. Any moron could do it. Not fucking me.

I push the wrong damn button, and it lights green and starts adjusting itself like underwear is creeping up its butt crack.

The first time I took the battery off and then put it back on, I broke it. It’s got a Rube Goldberg spring with buttons that must be held when moving the battery. Then there’s another lever that covers the button that works the spring. You have to hold the bike upside-down to get at the battery. It takes two hands to change the battery. You need a third hand to hold the actual bike.

“You shoved it back wrong,” the skinny fuck at the bike shop said. “We are going to replace it this time, but next time you will have to pay $200.” Fuck me.

Other times, I put the battery on the charger the night before. Next morning, I put the bike on the car, drive 15 miles to ride the only hill in Mesa, Az., or 20 miles to the national forest… Shit, left the battery on the charger at home.

“Engineers” turned my “zen” machine into a half-computer that breaks every time I look at it wrong.

I like big lights and I cannot lie…

I love to sleep in. In southern Arizona for half the year, I can’t ride in the sun without heat stroke and skin cancer. The skinny fucks with all their pigment are up before dawn and done with a 3-hour-ride by 8 a.m.

I’m the biking vampire — and that takes big lights. From a distance, I look like a messed up motorcycle pressed up against the curb.

Big lights mean another set of big batteries. Got the rechargeable ones. But if you leave them on the charger for days, they power themselves down. You have to unplug and plug them back in about an hour before the ride to make sure they are “fresh”.

I’m totally dependent on the two 700-lumen lights for the front and a big-ass, flashing, red tail light. At least one of them will have a “stale” battery and die mid-ride.

If both front lights die, I will crash into the curb. If the back light dies, I will be crushed under the wheels of a douchebag millennial checking his phone… Might as well put “I couldn’t see you Bro” on my tombstone.

If the engineers are going to engineer shit, why don’t they do it right?

Can’t I just hang the bike under a solar panel and let the sun charge this shit all day? Worked for the $7 lights in my backyard.

Or if the shifting batteries die, can’t I just push the lever and shift gears without your little fucking motors? Worked like that in 1885...

I’m already churning out watts as I pedal, why can’t we use that to power the fucking batteries? Worked like that for Bart Simpson.

But noooo. I get battery-powered crap with 50 different types of cords (none of them interchangeable) and have to track the batteries and the cords in 2 different houses. Just so I can get on a bike and power it myself.

My crunchy-granola zen has turned into the Christmas nightmare of 1971 — when “Santa” forgot the batteries, and none of my toys worked.

Fuck you Santa!

(There is no god…)

And as long as the goddamn engineers are involved, cycling will never make you feel “one with the universe.”

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