Singletrack - Issue 39
Ihad to replace some grips the other day: some well-worn Lizard Skins Moabs. They’d been on my hardtail for a while. Thinking about it, they’d been on a few years. I bought a new pair of the same grips at a race in the summer and had never got round to swapping them on. It was only looking at the new grips, with the same pattern, that I saw how worn down my old grips had become. They’d seemed perfectly youthful before the comparison. The markings were indistinct and the grip was all but sanded down with use over the years of riding. And that got me wondering how many of us use things until they actually wear out. There are the obvious, mechanical casualties, like chains and chainrings; they live in the dirt and are the early casualties of bad weather and hard riding. But some other bits take some wearing out. Grips can do a fi ne job for 80% of their wear, as can shoes and saddles, and then – just as they’re wearing into you like a favourite pair of jeans – the wear accelerates and it’s all you can do to get to the bike shop in time before they wear out completely. At that time, though, when it’s time to chuck away a favourite pair of shoes, or a trusty Camelbak whose leaky bladder and fraying edges transcends innuendo or those threadbare, peekaboo shorts... at that
time, you’re rushed with memories of the good times you’ve shared – that ‘I should just get one more ride out of them’ feeling. You can’t easily accelerate wear on a grip, it can only be done by the constant pressure and friction of your glove, or hand. And as those two mutually wear themselves away, you’re covering the miles and you’re soaking in memories. Some will be wet, cold epic rides where those grips will hardly have any traction, some will be doom-laded night rides where slippy roots and technical issues will dump you on your arse more than your tyres and some will be those endless rides of summer, where it’s too hot for gloves and your bare hands wear away at the rubber, raising calluses that’ll be your only reminder of those rare days. Until, that is, you come to chop off your old grips. It’s funny how yesterday’s tyres don’t seem to work with today’s rocks if all your mates have new rubber. And it can be surprisingly easy to talk yourself into new gear. But does your old stuff work its way down the food chain, onto your winter bike. Or your Dad’s bike? Or the neighbour’s kid’s bike? Or does it just go into a box of forgotten bits? Don’t forget the joy there is in a well worn-out bit of kit. Any fool can break something, but it takes trail time to wear something out. And that’s only ever a good thing.
the food chain, onto your winter bike. Or your Dad’s bike? Or the neighbour’s kid’s bike? Or does it just go into a box of forgotten bits? Don’t forget the joy there is in a well worn-out bit of kit. Any fool can break something, but it takes trail time to wear something out. And that’s