im - 5/30/2006 10:07:00 AM
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006
"Andy tells me the next step is to go offroad on a fixie, but I can tell you right now it doesn't sound too appealing to me."
I didn't say that exactly. Rather, it was more that when you start riding fixed gear, riding offroad is at some point inevitable, so perhaps it's better to get comfy with obstacles sooner than later.
Say, that reminds me: yesterday my trusty 1x1 proved yet again that it may be the most versatile bike I have ever built. To recap: I wanted the Do-It-All bike, so I built a 1x1 up as fixed gear, with a front hydro disc brake, Maxxis Larsen tires (good on road, great offroad, a little heavy but tolerable), upright bars, Wellgo pedals (which are THE best clipless/pinned platform flip/flop pedal I have found so far) etc, etc, blah blah blah. This bike looks sort of grandpa, sort of old Camaro, and acts as townie, bar ride, actual high performance offroad machine, winter (and sometimes summer) commuter, EVERYTHING bike. I ride it on the trails at the same speeds as my front suspended 'mountain bike' and to the store to get beer and beer accessories.
Doing yard work yesterday, it was determined by the lovely and talented Ms. Bloggins that I would need some field stones for the fire pit and various other projects, so I put the chain on the easy gear (has 17t and 19t gear options), hooked up my aging Burley trailer, threw in a shovel, some gloves, and a large plastic tote, and headed to the railroad tracks by the river. I brought back two loads of rock, each weighing more than me, the bike, and the trailer combined. I'm guessing I hauled 500+ pounds of rock in 2 loads. The place I went for the rocks is pretty close and only really accessible by foot or by bike, so driving wasn't an option. Once loaded up it was slow going, with the Burley well past it's recommended weight limit, but the 38/19 fixed gearing worked perfectly (the fixie aspect allows you a great deal of control, even heavily loaded up, because you can't really get going fast) and the disc brake was exactly as powerful, low effort, and reliable as always in those few places I needed to get the whole thing stopped, such as intersections.
It's rare, I have found (because I am a bike nerd), that you end up with a bike so perfectly suited to such a wide range of duties. Sure, this isn't the bike that's going to race the Tour (maybe Paris-Roubaix...), but then you're also not going to pull a trailer full of rocks with your Trek Madone 5.9. Not if you're smart, anyway. No, when I have tried in the past to build the ultimate utility bike I always seem to find some area that needs improvement, but this time ...I don't know, maybe because after all these years I finally know what I'm doing, maybe I just got lucky, or maybe I'm numb enough in the mind from finally getting some warm weather that I can't tell the difference, but I seem truly to have built a bike so useful, so enjoyable, and so reliable that I expect to keep and use in it's current incarnartion for years to come. Maybe I'll pick it up a shiny new stainless steel chain. To say thanks.
I cannot tell you the feeling of satisfaction when you know that you hauled so much stuff with your bike. I had my tea on the porch this morning so I could stare at the pile of rocks.