Pulling my crank

The local bikeshop recommended I get some shimano lx cranks online for my mountain bike to replace the ones that have finally (sort of) fallen off. Said they’d be a lot cheaper than the shop. While I scratch my head a little about that particular business process, I let the google thing tell me what my options for “shimano lx” cranks are. for those of you “in the know” – ie, nobody – I have a 9-speed cassette. About the only three numbers I care about when it comes to cranks are: 1) 9 speed, 2) teeth on the rings (please lord let me have a small little ring for the hills) and 3) price. Ought to be simple right? Ha ha ha. What followed was a crash course in product lines gone wild. Here are the options that come up when you google “shimano lx crankset” –



SLX M660

SLX M6601



FC MC-M780




Do those letters mean anything to you? Me neither. Each one of those is, apparently, a viable product option. A member of the industry’s crankset product line. yeah, ok. so have fun getting the price, figuring out which ones are 9 speed and which are 10 speed, good luck finding the crank length you want. keep clicking, find info on the number of teeth on the rings. go for a cookie and cup of coffee to unwind. have a good cry. keep trying. lose your place, throw it all out, start over. begin a wiki. correlate with amazon, and ebay. have another good cry. try to figure out which will look nice. grow a beard. call in sick to work. get a pHd in Bike Cranks. Wonder if any of your 3 bottom bracket tools will work on any of these guys. Try to remember what “octalink” means. Have a good laugh over the $600 options. Enjoy reading the rich history from Shimano as it tries to explain the difference between “Deore”, “Lx”, “XT”, and “SLX” and the ways some of these sets of letters have splintered into other sets of letters. Try to care. Try to follow along. Hang your head in shame at the human race, pondering why you ever gave up the exciting sport of “Walking” and got involved in something as bizarre as this. Feel guilt over buying from faceless online megabike store then remind self that it was the local bike shop that sent you here to begin with. Find the cheapest ones. Smile. Order.

On The Soothing Brain Chemistry of Last Place

It’s not all mahogony and cavier here at the ivory towered headquarters of launchday inc. we do occassionaly venture outside – blinking, wrinkled and pasty white, but outside nonetheless – to do something silly, like ride a bike.

for those of you unfortunate enough to get stuck on a ride with me, you know that basically everyone is faster than me. I was recently “dropped” by an eight year old. I get “dropped” all the time by the local 13-year-old, so often that I’ve stopped even noticing or thinking about it. It’s just the norm. Getting dropped is the norm. Just wait at the top if you’re so inclined, I’ll get there. Last place is my natural position on a bike. I don’t like not being last place. It stresses me out.

And I started thinking about the brain chemistry of this.

When not in last place, I tend to find the brain chemistry displeasing. Who’s behind me, are they ticked off, are they maybe depressed about it, or worse are they gaining, how about that awkward moment when they pass me, then it’s my turn to get kind of ticked off, or maybe depressed about it, and wonder if these are my declining years, or if my legs are too short, or wonder why im such a lousy “descender”, or im too fat (which is a fact) or maybe I just need to ride more, should I be doing interval training, get some power cranks, blah blah blah. it’s a myriad of unhappy thoughts. Why not just ride the bike? And you know where you can do that in peace and quiet? Last place.

In last place you’re just chillin. Noones watching you to see if you get up the hill (I wont) or over the rock (I might). In first place, its all work, work work. It’s for the athletically gifted. Last place is for the guy that rides his bike, does what he can, tries to get some sun and not get killed by a car or bear. It’s for the guy that can ride up to the group that’s waiting, smile and give a big “everybody good? ok im going to keep chugging along if you dont mind so i dont cramp” and keep chugging along.

Anyways I had something more to say about it but i’ve forgotten what it was. Something about brain chemistry. Thanks for listening.