Thursday, February 12, 2015

Machine Soul, Take 2

I've posted about this article before, but Dirt Rag has a way of re-arranging their site every couple of years and now that link's broken.  However, they've recently re-done things as one of their Blast from the Past features.  Go read it over there, but on the off chance it disappears again, here's the whole damn thing.  It's too good to be lost in a miasma of broken links.

Editor’s note: Machine Soul first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #21, published in February 1992. Words by John Gurklis. Dirt Rag #21 cover art by Mark Tierney.

This is defined as the ethereal component of the machine, in this context a bike. Machine soul is acquired as the rider’s mental energy becomes infused into the frame members of the bike. It is for this reason that many transportation devices such as ships, trains and planes obtain names. Although most people do not name their bike, if enough time is spent on it, the bike becomes an extension of their selves with the purpose of riding the person over the earth. Components other than the frame usually do not contain this machine soul as they can be replaced and the bike remains the same. It is only the frame, the heart of the bike, that the machine soul can reside in, usually in between the electron clouds that surround the lattice of atoms in a metal bike and in the resin of carbon fiber frames.
Machine soul can be felt when one gets a good feel from riding, and it can urge one to pull wheelies, bunny hop, jump curbs or ruts and ride hard. Machine soul is what allows the rider to get used to the bike and can effect a kind of loyalty. When one rides another’s bike the machine soul detests this and causes the borrowing rider to crash which makes the owner upset. Machine soul has punished the owner for his or her infidelity.
Machine soul only leaves the bike when the frame is destroyed or cracked to the point of being unrideable. The soul leaks out at the crack and floats up into the air to machine heaven, unless it is re-welded or bonded to patch the leak. Without its soul the dead bike becomes a hunk of metal like stair railing or lawn chair frames.
With this analysis of bike machine soul it is now clear as to why bikes have personality and why they are special.

Final note: If you're not subscribing to Dirt Rag and/or their sister publication Bicycle Times already, why the hell not?  <subscription page link>  At $19.99 and $16.99 respectively – cheap! – if you ride bikes at all, you really ought to.

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