When I started to ride seriously four years ago in Chicago, I kinda just went to the store called Sports Authority and picked up two bikes. One for myself and one for anybody who may want to ride with me on weekends, etc. I looked at a few bikes and tried them out, and with the help of a very competant (and pretty) sales girl, I picked out the bikes that I was finally set to buy. I bought two identical bikes so I would always have a spare, and it would look and feel the same. The only difference was the colors. My personal bike was and is a kinda fluorescent green, and the spare was a kind of brown or something. Well the spare got stolen right out of my garage, but luckily they left my rather expensive Mercedes GL behind!
When I was riding both in the US all over the place and in the UK, again all over the place, people waved, cheered, encouraged, and fellow and fellie bikers met from time to time. People of course noticed that it was a nice bike, as I kept an eye out for other nice bikes.
But, that is neither here or there. Let's get to the point. When I imported by bike to India on my relocation earlier this year, I started riding all over Bombay, for recreation, to work, to meetings, to coffee dates, etc. Usually I would do the morning ride from Bandra to Gateway and back. There I would meet and still do meet many people who are either bike enthusiasts, or then people who would like to take up riding at some point, and want to know what it's like, and so on and so forth. Fellow bikers know what I mean.....
But what I found strange, is that people asked pointed questions about gearing ratios, what kind of gears I had, what the brand is, and in general the conversation gets around to the more technical aspects of a bike. Now here is the thing, I believe I ride quite well (even if I say so myself), but as far as technical stuff goes, I direct my involvement to mostly riding the bike, and not into the deeper technical aspects. I guess I follow the philosophy, "as long as I turn the key and it goes, I really don't care".
Hell to be honest, in the beginning I didn't even know what a Hybrid was, or what a full suspension was, or what a de-railer, or quick release was. It is only later when I became more deeply involved with riding, that I came to know about this stuff. I'm not sure even at this point f I understand everything..., in fact I probably don't even know the names of all the major bike brands.
So what's my point? My point is that we are approached by many people who, either want to take up biking, who want to buy a bike, for themselves or their kids, or whoever. When we engage with them in conversation, let's just keep the jargon simple, let's not overwhelm them with all the technical information we've gathered. Let's try to inspire them into becoming part of a fantastic sport. I believe that the technical stuff is best handled by a Zubair, or a Faizal or a Pushkar or their equivalents in various suburbs, and towns and cities across India. Lets teach them the ropes, of how to ride well, how to react under certain situations, how to use the bike to extract its maximum potential. What kind of diet bikers must maintain, make sure we keep hydrated, what loss of salt is, an so on and so forth.
I only mention this because on more than one occasion, I found that some of my peers were talking to some bike enthusiasts, and from the look on the faces of the recipients, I could see that they were completely overwhelmed, perhaps to the point of saying, is this really for me? Even if you look at many of the forums on this site itself, you will see a clear distinction... of people who are in the know, and use jargon constantly, and those who are keen to make inquiries, and the replies you see, are often technical, and same information can be conveyed in a much simpler way. I guess we all need to remember, that what seems basic knowledge to us now, was not basic knowledge to use when we started off, or was it?