Pro Tip: Smuggling more cycling parts into your stash without getting caught.

{This post is purely a work of fiction for entertainment purposes only and not intended as actual advice.  Use these tips at your own risk.  COMBO bloggers accept no responsibility for those who get caught and the ensuing argument that could result from it.  We in no way endorse deceit.  But if we did... this is how we'd do it.}

When is enough really enough?  

Tires with different tread patterns, wheels, shifters, riser bars, straight bars, 29er, fat bike, 26er, ergons, race grips, etc.  Many mountain bikers find themselves with quite a stash of interchangeable bike parts.  It's part of the fascination with the sport.  You're not only the rider but often times the chief mechanic.

I met a friend of mine at Mohican one time to ride.  I took a bike.  He took an SUV full of parts.  As I gave him more information about the trail (he had never ridden there before) he proceeded to configure a bike right in front of me for the specific conditions he found that day.  In all seriousness, he could have come up with a LOT of different bike set-ups based on all the parts he had with him.  This frame... those wheels... that saddle.  As someone who tends to ride rather than wrench, I was blown away.

For the longest time, Dan, COMBO's President, would rarely get caught with the same bike configuration.  He rode what I affectionately called the "Franken-bike" because of it's many different mixed & matched parts.  For Dan & others, part of the fun of mountain biking is having the option of setting up your bike.  It's not really any different from a NASCAR team setting up the car based on the track they'll be racing any given weekend.

But it takes a lot of parts to make this work.  You have to have different options.  A lot of different options.  Different pedal options.  Different saddle options.  Different bar options.  Different grip options. You get the idea.  And it can get expensive to procure all these parts.  And you have to have the support of your significant other to make this work.  Or not...

Which brings us to this Pro Tip: How to Smuggle more & more bike parts into your already out of control stash of random, yet completely necessary bike parts without getting caught.

Step One: Financing the Purchase

Rookies, take note... you absolutely cannot have a charge from the bike shop show up on your credit card.  You won't be able to slip it by anyone, let alone the significant other who already thinks you have "WAY TOO MUCH CYCLING CRAP." Just as unlikely is your ability to come up with the necessary cash to make this purchase.  Let's face it, a drug habit is cheaper than an addiction to carbon bike parts.

Enter the VISA Gift Card.  Now here's the real trick; your odyssey to procure that new, carbon race bar you've been fixated on doesn't start with a trip to the bike shop.  No, dear friend, you've got to go to Walmart.  Yes, Walmart.

Once at Walmart, you'll have to find the correct denomination of Visa Gift Card.  For the sake of this example, let's say $100.  Next, you'll head to the beer aisle and pick up a six pack (I prefer Budweiser but take your pick).  The key is to make sure that the Walmart charge on your credit card is a random amount such as $107.36 that will go completely undetected in a quick scan of the credit card bill.  And you'll drink the beer anyway.

After an infuriating wait at the checkout that makes you question the future of humanity, I'm happy to tell you that Step One, my friend, is complete.

Step Two: Go to "Home Depot"

"Who wants to go to Home Depot with me?"  -crickets-  Nobody ever wants to go to Home Depot with you. You wander around aimlessly looking at crap that you couldn't possibly need.  And what are you doing in there for an hour, anyway?  It's a struggle to get you to leave.  It's maddening.  Infuriating.  And that's why nobody wants to go to Home Depot with you.

"Welcome to "Home Depot" where we have all the lusty, carbon bike components you'd ever want.

"Welcome to "Home Depot" where we have all the lusty, carbon bike components you'd ever want.

But you're not going to Home Depot at all.  "Home Depot" is the code name for your local bike shop.  So now you're headed to "Home Depot" all by yourself with your freshly activated Visa Gift Card.  You're halfway home.

Step Three: Purchase Lusty Carbon Bike Component

This is the easy part.  You've got about an hour at "Home Depot" before any suspicions are aroused.  Go.  Look at everything for the 100th time, catch up with your favorite Wrench, check out the newest models of everything.  Then, make your purchase using the Visa Gift Card.

Step Four: The Workbench.

This is really the key to making the whole Ocean's 11-type caper work.  And for some of you, this will be the most difficult part.  I know more than a few loyal readers are obsessive neat-niks when it comes to the organization of their parts & work spaces.  Every bike tool has it's properly labeled place.  Every bike component has it's properly labeled bin or tote.  But for any of this to work, you have to be completely committed to keeping your bike workbench in the most deplorable condition you could possibly imagine.

That's right... a complete disaster.  Think of what it would look like if you took all those bins and dumped them out on your workbench.  One.  Big.  Pile.  Throw every random bike part you own into the pile.  It doesn't matter if it functions at all.  You're not going for utility.  You're going for... camouflage.

Like a Zebra running in a herd, one new lusty piece of carbon thrown into a pile of unruly bike randomness won’t be noticed at all.

That's right: camouflage.  The bigger the pile, the easier it is to completely overlook any slight change that's taken place in it.  Only a highly trained eye would look at your stash and notice the lusty new carbon.  It's virtually undetectable if you've maintained your parts stash in the appropriately deplorable condition necessary to make this work.  Honestly, the bigger the pile, the better off you are.

So there it is.  You now have a step by step guide on how to smuggle a nearly un-traceable new bike part into your ever-growing stash.  This is powerful stuff.  Please use it for good. And when you get the chance, Thank that special someone who puts up with your highly irrational fascination with the latest, greatest bike component that you just absolutely must have.  Your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner has obviously chosen to accept you for who you are and you wouldn't be able to enjoy mountain biking the way you do without their support!

See you on the trails!