I'm somewhat well-known for my stoic stance on a lot of things cycling related; "the rules" of bar tape matched with saddle colour, sunglass arms over helmet straps, only wearing Pro team kit if you're actually sponsored etc etc. But, as Josh is always eager to point out, some of my strongest beliefs have been turned on their head lately. Such as white bar tape.
Many months back, the angry vegetarian (not me, the shorter one) fitted a Gravity Dropper seatpost to his bike. I wasn't convinced that it was a worthy piece of equipment for our trails. After all, I'd been chided by Rad Ross that only wimps dropped their seats on descents, and as he'd been schooling me on every downhill on the island, I was inclined to believe him. So I poo-pooed the whole drop-the-post idea. A quick release is all you need, I would protest loudly, while stopping at the top of Deliverance as Josh rode off into the distance. When I'd finally join him at the bottom, and get off the bike, put the seat up, and maintain that light weight was more important than some fancy bloody telescoping contraption, he'd be getting the hell out of earshot and hitting the next climb. With the Makara Peak Rally (Tour de Peak option, ride all tracks in the park) coming up next weekend, I thought that maybe one of these useless contraptions may come in handy for the steep, technical trails like Vertigo and Trickle Falls. Before you could say "what are you doing", the angry vegetarian (not me, the faster one) had a Crank Brothers Joplin charged to my account and installed on the Stumpy. But I was still sceptical.
Then I rode with it.
How did I ever get by without one of these useful contraptions? Before I'd even got to any kind of serious drops, I was converted. It adds a whole new aspect to your riding. Just railing around a tight switchback can be made so much easier. Nudge the lever, weight the seat, and drop it a liitle or a lot. I found myself nudging that little lever almost as much as I was shifting gears. While it made all of the harder trails in the park a lot easier, it won't stop you from launching over the bars on rutted corners, unfortunately. (I think Rob might have to try one, after taking three or four spills, with the last on Trickle Falls being one of the biggest crashes I've ever had the horror/concern/eventual pleasure of witnessing). Or being gapped up the climbs. But it will bring you a new outlook on the ride, and allow you to ride faster, more efficiently and makes angry vegetarians a lot less angry.