Dunno if this qualifies as a "fundamental rite of passage", but for a long time, whenever I assembled a new bike of my own, I made a point of nicking the paint somewhere to help me get past the "new bike, must protect at all costs" syndrome ... because once nicked, I could ride them without worry.
The very first nick came while filing the steerer after cutting down, while the fork was still installed in the frame, instead of putting in soft-jaws on a bench-vice, and clamping it there ... file slipped, and dinged the paint on the top tube.
I was way disappointed ... but became almost superstititious about repeating it thereafter for a few years, although afterwards, I generally tried to nick the paint someplace less noticeable.
Steven L. Sheffield
stevens at veloworks dot com
bellum pax est libertas servitus est ignoratio vis est
ess ay ell tea ell ay kay ee sea eye tee why you ti ay aitch
aitch tee tea pea colon [for word] slash [four ward] slash double-you
double-yew double-ewe dot flahute dot com [foreword] slash