Simon O'Hagan: Cyclotherapy

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The Independent Online

What kind of relationship do you have with your bike? Are you intimately acquainted with every last chain link? Is that scratch on the top tube a source of heartache to you? Or is your bike just another bit of anonymous kit in your life – a machine that you pedal away on without giving a moment's thought to how it looks, or how all the elements fit together?

This is the time of year when lots of us are re-introducing ourselves to our bikes. Some people will be taking up cycling for the first time. The days have lengthened, there's a glimmer of warmth in the sun, and – well – you know it makes sense. But even if your bike hasn't been lying idle, how well do you really know it?

These questions have been prompted by a lovely five-minute video put together by Carlton Reid, the founder of BikeBiz, an online industry magazine that's full of fascinating stuff even for people who don't earn a living selling bikes. With a soundtrack made using bike parts, the video journeys up, down, along and all over a bicycle, identifying what's what and putting names to things that you might not have been too sure how to describe (cassette, bottom bracket, stem, seat post...)

I don't want to get too nerdy about this. I don't think I obsess over my bike. Not quite, anyway. I do find myself sitting and gazing at it sometimes, and I can fix a puncture – but if anything else goes wrong, I'm straight to the bike shop. But bike shops can be intimidating places. The scorn of the bike shop assistant is legendary. In such circumstances, showing that you know your front mech from your jockey wheel might at least earn you some grudging respect.

Check out Carlton's video – "Bong. Psst. Twang. Whirr. Psst" – at http://www.vimeo.com/848558.

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