To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question. We humans like to tinker. We’ve been doing it for years. It’s almost as if it is programmed in our DNA. Tinkering leads to innovation, innovation leads to progress, and progress is just one of the things that make us human. So, it’s no surprise that there are so many components available today that make it easy for us to make our bikes truly our own. Of course, this can lead to falling down a very expensive rabbit hole. But still, we are compelled to jump. Let’s face it, cycling is an expensive sport. Bikes are expensive, gear is expensive, health insurance is expensive, etc. Some bikes are even laughably so. Even entry level builds can be way too much for a lot of people. But even some $5K bikes still leave us wanting more. I can remember modifying my first bike to make it my own. I was a child of the 1980’s and my first bike was called a “Showdown.” It was yellow with orange racing stripes and I thought it was especially cool because it had a plastic looking “gas tank” on the top tube made to resemble a motorcycle. Every time I jumped on it, I tried to mimic a motorcycle by vocalizing the sounds of changing gears. But this grew tiresome over time and I thought about a more permanent solution. So, I did the old playing card on the rear tire trick. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, I stuck a playing card towards the bottom of my seat post and placed it in such a way the tail end of it would rub against the tire tread. The result was a whirring sound, kind of like an engine. Well, at least that’s what I told myself and anybody else who would listen. It made me feel cool. Not only was I happy with what I accomplished, but it made my bike different from my friends’ bikes, and that was cool too. These days, my bikes cost a lot more than they should and yet, I still enjoy changing components and making them my own. I can’t say its money well spent, because like cars, bikes are a major depreciating asset. But still, like cars, we make them our own and love them just a little bit more for it. So, whether you are into the latest wireless shifting technology, or revel in the beauty and simplicity of a single speed hardtail, you do you. I know I will. And who knows, maybe I’ll even go back to sticking that playing card on the rear tire. At least that way I can keep pretending that I might actually be fast. And that’s something that doesn’t cost a thing.