By Stevil Kinevil
“New bike wood.” Robert Ives first uttered this phrase to me some 18 years ago in reference to that specific and very special feeling one gets when he or she has a new bike. Specifically, for those whose minds are not naturally in the gutter, it refers to an erection. Now, unlike the physiological event by that name, new bike wood isn’t at all sex-specific. Anyone of any sex, race, color or creed can get new bike wood. All it takes is a normal, healthy, breathing and feeling human being, and of course, a new, (or new to that person) bicycle. It comes in many forms and has many faces. It’s butterflies in your stomach when you’re away from it. It’s thinking about it nonstop when you’re at your desk at work. It’s the learning curve that takes place when figuring out how it responds in and to different conditions. It’s having a photo of the bike in question as a screen saver on your phone or computer. It’s sitting in your garage on a rainy night eating burritos with your friends and talking about the different adventures you’ll eventually have on it. Do any or all of these ring a bell? Then at some point in your life, you’ve had or are possibly currently having new bike wood.
I suppose the reason any of this is in the forefront of my mind right now is because as I’m typing these words—like, this very minute—I have a really bad case of it. Not only has it been brought on by a new bike, but it’s been brought on by a new, super-fancy full-suspension trail ripper, complete-with-all-of-the-bells-and-whistles-type of bike. Like the kind that other people always seem to own, but I never do. Like the kind you see sitting in a shop window, and you wonder who it will eventually go home with. It’s that kind of new bike. Normally, a surefire remedy to deal with this or any kind of new bike wood is to take it on a date to the dirt and get after it. Savoring every loamy corner on a fresh set of tires and grabbing a handful of brand-spanking-new brake as your blaze through your favorite rocky descent. Getting to know one another’s abilities and ending the day laying in the grass and looking at the clouds. Sadly, since my precious arrived in my hands, I’ve been illing on a whole new and agonizing level (for those who’ve been paying attention, my last 365 days have left something to be desired in terms of physical health), so all I can do is to sit and cast a loving gaze upon it and think about all of the fun we’ll eventually have together.
Again, I should reiterate, this phenomenon is in no way limited to one sex or another, and it can last for as long as you own and love your bike, though I suppose in that instance it might generally be referred to as “old new bike wood.” Why, when referring to her sparkly green custom-built hardtail she’s now owned for nearly a decade, my wife still regularly refers to her new bike wood, so if that’s not proof of my previously made point, I don’t know what would be.
It’s a brilliant sensation that anyone who’s ever been immersed in a love affair with a new steed is familiar with, and thanks to Robert and his off-the-cuff and colorful colloquialism, we’ve now got a name for it.
Lastly, and best of all—if new bike wood lasts for more than 24 hours, there’s no need to call your doctor.