Unfamiliarity breeds contentment

Words: Tom Owen

Repetitive Cycle

‘God, I can’t wait for this ride to be over.’

I love my bike as much as anyone, and yet I often find myself mentally exclaiming how tedious I’m finding it. You must have it too – a particular strip of tarmac, or a trail that you just loathe? Maybe it’s the grimy, industrial road into the city where you live, or a particularly difficult line that you never seem able to crack.

For me, it’s the A6, a busy, traffic-choked, badly surfaced road through Stockport on the way into Manchester. Proper grim.

It’s the familiarity that breeds contempt, of course. I’ll bet even pro riders tire mentally after repeated uplifts to hit the same Morzine run over and over, or on training rides over the Stelvio Pass – frustrated with a daily grind that most of us would see as a worthy entry on our bucket list.

On Repeat

Cycling is by nature, repetitive. The clue is in the name. One pedal stroke follows another, just as surely as one hill rep, interval, or downhill run is followed by the next. We all ride the same routes week in, week out.

Don’t even get me started on the profoundly strange, self-perpetuating process of commuting to and from an office every day. What I’m saying is, it’s hard to avoid getting jaded.

Switching things up with trips abroad, or by pointing the front wheel down roads you’ve never before explored is one way to keep things fresh. It’ll re-engage you and make you forget you were ever mad at bike riding. Unfortunately, with the exception of GCN presenters, early retirees, and lottery winners, we can’t go on holiday all the time. There’s a limit to how much ‘new’ you can actually do.

Time for upgrades

If variety is the spice of life in the saddle, then good equipment is the knife and fork that lets you enjoy every meal with appropriate enthusiasm. We all know the joy of riding new kit for the first time; the unbeatable excitement of new bike day or the incredible difference a new set of hoops can make to a seemingly tired machine.

SPENGLE Carbon Monocoque wheels aren’t like other wheels. They say ‘no’ to Victorian technology, endlessly reiterated, but still subject to the same flaws they were a century and a half ago. They’re so startlingly new, in fact, that they’re a bit hard to get your head around.

“So the spokes are carbon?”

“No. There are no spokes.”

“Wait, so what are those three things that go out from the middle?”

“Those are blades, Tom.”

“Dope.”

I’ve heard it said that ‘great wheels can’t make you a better rider, but they can make every ride more fun’. And if repetition is a necessary evil in this glorious pedal-powered pastime, you might as well make every rev as joyful as possible.

The surfaces your tyres roll over may be grindingly familiar, but the changing shadows that the SPENGLE Carbon Monocoque throw as they rotate and dance on the road will never get old.


Tom Owen rides and writes about bicycles. He’d love to know which bit of road or trail you just can’t stand riding after one, two, or a hundred too many visits.