James Mckee @james

Star Wars and Bicycles

This will surely rob you of 10 minutes you can’t have back

The thing that astounds me the most, I suppose, is that years later, I’m still noticing things I haven’t seen yet. I’ve never been one to blindly honor the number of years a person has ridden bikes over the amount of fun a beginner is having riding their bike. Nor, would I gravitate towards an individual who viewed Star Wars in a theatre in the late 70s over a young padawan viewing A New Hope for the first time with their jaw dropped. 

Not that I don’t like mentioning (from time to time) that I’ve been riding mountain bikes in a relative serious manner for 27 years... it’s a neat fact to me, but it doesn’t matter at all other than weirdo time based conversations revolving around where the time has gone and was it time well spent. In the case of this article, if you wish to call it that, it matters because I’ve been watching Star Wars and riding mountain bikes in a relatively serious manner for over 20 years and I’m still noticing things that I haven’t seen yet. I can imagine the some-what noncommittal or blank faces that would result from a statement like that. George Lucas managed to release 47 or so editions of the same three movies. 

There are bound to be new bits here and there that I haven’t seen. And anyone who knows anything about the cycling industry knows that it doesn’t stop or slow down. A brand new bike is only brand new for its 15 minutes of fame and then the next newest thing comes out. Or, if neither of those thoughts occurred to you, it may be that my decision to write an article rambling on about the similarities between a corny sci-fi and bicycles and how they have affected my life just didn’t have too much of an effect on you and you’re waiting for me to make some valid and clear point... or a really bad run on sentence that you’ll have to read again to make any sense of. I should warn any literary geniuses (or anyone reading above a grade 2 level,) that you may wish to abandon any further hope with this article... this is not the wisdom you are looking for... move along, move along. I started mountain biking well after mountain biking had been established. It was still much less established than it is now, but I certainly have never been to Mount Tamalpais and never took part in the legendary Repack races. As most nerds tend to do, I now talk about Mount Tam, Marin County, Repack, Fisher, Breezer and Ritchey like I WAS there and certainly like I think my opinion on the matter bears some credibility. I even feel good about shortening Tamalpais to Tam... like maybe I know where the fuck that mountain is. 

Mountain biking was young at that time and it became something huge and influential and I want my damned piece of the historical pie. These days we certainly talk about that era with a lot of terminology and know-how that we really didn’t have at the time. Much like now, a lot of the terminology we DID have was ambiguous, misused, bastardized and (back then,) reeked heavily of the road bike and dirt bike influences that most people didn’t know about because the internet was still just a wee tiny porno provider for a different small group of nerds. It hadn’t become the huge life sucking memory hole (and porno provider) that it is today. I could certainly continue in this direction for a while... the historical significance of mountain biking and the influence it had on my life... and you’d likely forget that I started this article talking about both bicycles AND Star Wars. And really, it’s probably a much better idea than what I’m about to do. Star Wars also started part way through its own history. We didn’t know that at the time because the first movie wasn’t originally called Episode 4. 

That’s terminology that we use now to discuss the finer points of something that happened in the past. And in a galaxy far, far away. Darth Vader was already Darth Vader and Boba Fett was already... wait a minute... he wasn’t already Boba Fett. We didn’t find that out until later. But not a single person watches Episodes 4, 5 and 6 without referring to him as Boba Fett. My point is... well, there isn’t really one. Mostly I needed to establish that I know a bit about mountain biking and a bit about Star Wars and that I’ve been around for a while. I also wanted to work in a bit of a jab at Episodes 1, 2 and 3 but that’s a bit of an easy target even for an article like this. > Yoda’s a bit pissed with him because he’s such a wimp and he says something about size not mattering. A proper and truthful estimate/guess/approximation would be that I’ve ridden bikes far more than I’ve watched Star Wars... but not with the exponential difference that you’d maybe expect. Remember this is the guy who watched Rad three times in one night. I’d say that a fair appraisal would put me at 5 bike rides per viewing of any given Star Wars episode. 

That’s still once a week. And that’s also 20 years. Yep, that’s over 1000 times. Or if that’s complete crap, let’s say 10 to 1. That’s still 500 viewings and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 count for only about 9 of those. 

One could deduct that I’ve seen every scene... but that would be incorrect, wouldn’t it? Otherwise I’d have never bothered to write this article and bring it to your attention. Since we’re discussing a corny sci-fi anyway, there’s no point in putting too much effort into accurately figuring out how often I notice new bits that I haven’t noticed before. So call it every other viewing that I notice something I haven’t noticed before. Doesn’t that seem fairly high? Just the other day I noticed a whole new scene with Yoda that I’ve never seen before. It was only a few seconds of screen time, but still new to me. For those of you still reading, I applaud your tenacity. You’ve come this far so why not finish? Mountain biking is always new. Trails change, equipment changes and some days you go faster. Every time I pass the Bone Yard I notice new things that I haven’t noticed before. And sometimes when I’m riding Hobgoblin I notice the cow poo BEFORE I ride through it. Not sure if that last one is because I’m getting smarter or that I’m noticing things I haven’t noticed before. 

There’s a scene that you may or may not have noticed where Luke is unable to rescue his X-Wing from the swamp on Dagobah. Yoda’s a bit pissed with him because he’s such a wimp and he says something about size not mattering. Luke’s outlook on getting his X-Wing out of the swamp is not too dissimilar to how I feel about rescuing this article from the evil clutches of obscurity. 

I suspect that Yoda would never introduce a new idea in the final paragraph. Mind you, messed up the order of things he would. So there you are. Or more truthfully, here we are. The end of our short relationship as writer and reader. I’m quite pleased with myself for taking you on this strange little journey. And I’ve also followed a few of the proper methods outlined by various English instructors I’ve had over the years. I’ve certainly bent a few rules and made up a few, but I don’t think that’s what you’re going to really take away from this article. 

But there’s always a chance that you’ll notice something new. Go ride your bike. 

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