TCI Friday

There are things I’m not good at. I know. I know. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. And not only am I not good at some things, but I’m actively trying to be good at them, and that leads to a sense of frustration, an impatience with the seemingly glacial pace of progress.

Some friends and I were discussing the probably imminent existence of the technology we saw in the Matrix, whereby you can download physical skills directly into your brain. Keanu Reeves learned kung fu in 3 seconds. I’m sure I could learn to wheelie in a second-and-a-half. I already kinda know how.

I watch a lot of outdoor sports videos, made by people who are good at outdoor sports. These things are both inspiration and aspirational, but the distance between me and say, Brandon Semenuk, can only be measured in lightyears. I’d need Lawrence Fishburne to give me the blue pill and strap me into that weird dentist chair of his to get even close.

The question is, would I actually download those skills if I could? As joyful as it might be to ride like the kids (because they’re kids) at the top of the various sports I practice, I’d be cheating myself of all the incremental victories that come from skill building. It’s also worth asking if the fantasy of instant upgrade might be compromised by the current state of my equipment, specifically my aging body.


Still, I like to dream about having the ability to execute a long, flowy jump line. Is it in the cards for me? Probably not. Dreamin’s for free though.

This week’s TCI Friday asks, would you download bike skills if you could? If the answer is yes, what skills would you choose? If the answer is no, let’s hear your very reasonable and mature reasons why not.

Join the conversation
  1. tcfrog says

    No, I’m happy with the skills I have. I know how to hold the line in a paceline, how to follow the wheel and maneuver around obstacles on singletrack, and how to relax and enjoy the scenery on a winter fat bike ride. These skills can complement each other and help me be competent in all the riding I care to do. Would I like to be faster up the hills? Sure, but that’s more an issue of me refusing to give up sweets and beer than it is of skill.

  2. DaveinME says

    What tcfrog said. I am happy to have learned so much from my time riding, but I would like to climb and recover faster.

  3. Jeff vdD says

    No skill download for me. My technical skills are right where they need to be for technical gravel and moderately technical MTB.

    Now, fitness download? Plug me in, baby!

  4. bart says

    I’d prefer to download safety awareness and “limiters” that prevent me from doing stupid things. I’m 48 and injuries are starting to take much longer to recover from and avoiding those is the most important thing for me to continue riding. If skills are the way to avoid injuries, then I can get on-board with that.

  5. rides in be says

    Here are the skills I would like to download
    1. Ability to plan and execute, my work a bit more efficiently.
    2. Ability to coordinate my family schedule to ensure quality time with every member appropriate to our relationship..
    3. Ability to control the weather with certain limitations to create prime windows for outdoor activities.

    If I could download those skills, then I would have more time to be the mediocre but joyful cyclist that I am.

  6. alanm9 says

    Once when near the end of a century I decided, while flying downhill on a gusty windy day, that it was a perfect time to reach back and massage my aching back with both hands. My subsequent ride to the ER in a horse collar and backboard proved otherwise. So, I guess I would download the skill to ride no-hands. And a brain.

  7. Barry Johnson says

    fearless descending…my achilles heel since a crash in the 80’s

  8. dr sweets says

    If I could “download” any pro riders skills right now it would be Chris Akrigg. In the meantime, in my mind I’m riding like I’m sending it off some 40′ cliff when in reality it may be just a fraction of that. Totes worth it though.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      I’m also a big Akrigg fan. I think I’d be pretty content to have his skills.

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