It seems like every winter has its own character in Minnesota. Every year there’s a quality to the winter that seems to lend a personality to the season. I can’t really remember what year was what but the first year winter I lived here it was like an old pal - warm, mellow - it seemed like it wanted good things to happen to everyone. Contrast that with last year, cold and harsh. All of it influences the experiences one has on one's bike. The year the winter was mild, I road a certain type of bike. Without nerding out too hard about how the bike was set up, it was a geared crosscheck and it was pretty ok. Everything worked pretty well and I kept that bike set up the same way until the next winter. The following winter sucked a little harder and I had to turn it into a single speed because I was tired of the shifting not working in the ice and snow. It was a lot of this:
Needless to say the bike has remained a single speed. If you can reach out and touch perfection, why not do it? Since spring is just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about how this winter season has gone and I’ve realized that I’ve tended towards simplicity this year and I have fallen in love all over again with redundant systems. Redundant systems are pretty rad because when one fails, another takes up for the crapped out one. This winter, in the times of super cold, I’ve managed to blow up one freehub and one freewheel. The freewheel was on my steamroller, which has a flip-flop hub and the other on a standard mountain bike. Guess which one got me home? The flip-flop hub. Ergo, redundant systems are cool.
The two drive options for the Pug SS brings up a good point in that we now have offset Pugsley forks back in stock, in a rainbow of disgusting colors. I went with the old design fork because it came in an exceptionally ugly color. I'm into that now because hopefully no one will steal it. Some people still like bikes like this that have swappable wheels. If you're one of those people but don't yet have the fork, you can do that now. FYI. It's pretty sweet. It's gotten me out of a jam on more than one occasion. And by 'Jam' I mean a stick jammed my derailleur into my wheel. They're also redesigned and are vastly different than our old ones but just as offset and even more badass.
See that freewheel in the background? It doesn't work anymore. The fip-flop hub got me home though and that was fortuitous for me because I would have been otherwise bummed out if I would have been forced to walk. The freewheel has been on that Steamroller since I built it - many winters ago - so we'll see if it actually comes off. Get out the HOT WRENCH!
I’ve been digging this sort of thing lately because in the winter, my happy-fun-times bike riding seems to hibernate and dream of utilitarian getting from place to place when it’s really cold out. It begs the question, is having a backup drive system on your bicycle its most delicously condensed gravy or just wretched excess? Bikes, much like people who live in Los Angeles or Florida, tend to break down in the real cold, so I think it’s smart to have some sort of contingency plan or redundant system that can step in and take the place of any part that just so happens to freeze solid. But either way, who cares? Just go ride your bike and fall on the ice.