Friday, June 09, 2006

Milestone Anniversaries

Several one-year anniversaries snuck past while I was preparing for trial.

Many important changes happened in April/May 2005, and the year in between has been pretty damn cool.

Beginning the New Era, my clunky hybrid The Tank was stolen on April 8, 2005. Very, Very Sad. But this was the kick in the pants that finally forced my ass onto a road bike. The Bianchi replaced The Tank mere hours later. He brought with him the challenge of clipless pedals/shoes. Despite my fear, I learned how to clip in and out with little incident. I also began riding fast on my speedy new bike. It was fun to watch the speedometer register previously unbelievable numbers. Taking a whole lane and keeping up with traffic rocked my world.

I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the Bianchi parked outside all day at work, so another bike quickly joined the stable. I walked an unrideable old Schwinn road bike home from Working Bikes to use in a Cycling Sisters’ workshop, "Convert your bike to a fixie" at West Town Bikes. I stripped it of the rear cassette and small chainring, got it a new track wheelset, removed the rear brake, tightened the chain and named the reincarnated bike the Mint Julep.

Riding her was frightening at first, but soon I learned to enjoy riding a fixie and figured out how to slow her down safely. She got an upgrade of new BB, smaller cog, chain and clipless pedals and I learned how to install these things. This is by far the bike that I know most intimately. Nearly every piece of her I have installed, adjusted, fixed, cleaned or somehow tinkered with. We’ve seen many places and ridden many rides. I prettied her up with streamers and wicked red handlebars. The Julep is my go-to bike: fast, cute and ready for anything. She has done a century ride, the alleycat races, parades, Critical Mass, boring commutes and was with me every cold winter mile. She is my pride and joy.

I have learned bike maintenance from the Julep and she helped introduce me to the previously unapproachable messengers. She draws compliments from a wide variety of people on the street and is always a joy and a thrill to ride. The Bianchi is now relegated to the basement most of the time – but when he comes out to play, he gets ridden to fun new locations. He is my special-occasion touring bike. He carries everything I need on his back and gets me out of the city. Both of these bikes have been in my life for just over a year and I feel like together they have helped bring about many changes. They have expanded the distance and scope of my riding and helped to bring many new people into my life.

Not long after the Julep was born, I also invested in the Handlebar. This was probably not the wisest investment, but I totally dig it. Having a project like the Hbar is fun – even when it means painting over graffiti in the men’s room on the Fourth of July. Being part of the Hbar makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Plus it has definitely introduced me to cool, new friends and greatly expanded my friendship with the other owners. Love It.

Exactly a year after falling in love with fast road bikes, I have come full circle with the Breeze – a bike much slower and cumbersome than even The Tank. Now both the Julep and the Bianchi spend a lot of time in the basement, while the Breeze sees the city. I don’t worry about losing fitness, because even slowly pedaling the Breeze around takes a bit of work. My cute little dorky basket bike is just such a treat to ride. She makes me smile and I don’t have to prove anything with her, but just enjoy the ride. Apparently after a year in the drops, it is time to remember the fun of slowing down, seeing the view and just plain having fun.

Besides, it makes riding hard and fast all that much more thrilling! I think I have the best of all worlds and look forward to what I will learn and experience in this next year.


At 5:25 AM, Blogger George said...

Good stuff.

Any plans for more bikes?

There is no such thing as too many bikes:-)


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