Starting new things can be dangerous. Dangerous to your ego at least.
When I got my first road bike last fall, there was this plastic chain guard on the back wheel that just looked out of place (see photo). I know nothing about bikes so assumed it served a purpose. Mine
bothered me because is was slightly warped and made a perfectly symmetrical wheel look out of whack.
I road in Tour Dallas last month and it never crossed my mind. Last weekend, as I unloaded my bike to ride in the Head For The Hills Bike Rally in Cedar Hill, I noticed the chain guard again. Dang it, why is this thing warped?
Being a complete gear junkie, I decided that I would look for the coolest chain guard in the race and order one the moment I got home. I went to the start area with that single purpose. As I began to my quest, I was puzzled by the lack of noticeable chain guards. Where are their guards? Huh, either I’m the only one that has one or these were so good that they were virtually invisible.
So what did I do next? I became self conscious of the warped plastic saucer attached to my rear wheel. It was too large to hide and I still had 10 minutes of small talk before I could at least get the wheel spinning to obscure this ugly thing. Oh the anguish!
Rather than order a cool one the moment I got home, I did a simple Google search to find out about these “chain guards”. A couple of clicks later I found my answer. Someone on a message board asked about their purpose. The reply came from a veteran cyclist claiming “The chain guard serves a very important purpose. Actually called a “Dork Disk”, it tells us who the newbies are so we can stay the hell away from them once the race begins.”
For once, my gear fetish paid off. I didn’t have to order a darn thing. Envy actually saved me money. Go figure.
That afternoon as I was cleaning up my bike, I cut that thing off my FUJI. So long warped plastic frisbee. Why on earth a reputable bike shop would install the thing to begin with is beyond me. They must be in on the joke. Now all I have to do is resist making fun of people sporting the Dork Disk at future events.
God, help me to always remember, I was there once myself.
Run in Peace, Rest in Grace