A requested Update...the Julep Rides Again
Life has been busy....work still sucks...and time marches onward.
This Sunday I was pretty productive – I did ALL of my laundry and consequently cleaned up my hellpit of a bedroom. There not only is a floor now, but it is also swept and clean. Then I stripped my fading basil plants of most of their leaves and made my winter supply of pesto.
The Julep got a flat tire sometime back in May or June. Twice I tried to pry that motherfucking tire off of the rim, but it just wouldn’t work. Instead, the nylon tire irons impotently bent under the strain. In disgust, I stabled the Julep for the summer – all summer long she was hobbled and downcast, with her fork resting on the basement floor.
I rode the Breeze, which I have taken to calling "The Dork Bike." She was a perfect little bike for summer – I leisurely rode around town with my bag in her basket. Her windchime streamers tinkled softly as I pedaled. We got passed a lot by other bikers: roadies and fixed-gears of course, but also mountain bikes and even......hybrids. I learned to get used to it, but at the same time longed to ride fast and sleek with the sexy fixies.
Several weeks ago the front basket on bike was stolen while the bike was parked at work. Grrr.... I strapped on my messenger bag and felt the sweat build on my back. The Dork Bike requires a lot of work to pedal at even a reasonably slow rate, so getting to and from work on it is a bit of a challenge. The Julep called from me in the basement and fixing her tire was on my to-do list for several weekends.
Then on Friday night when I left my office to join Critical Mass, I noticed that one of her streamers was missing. God-damnit. Slowly the thieves of the city were stripping away the Dork Bike’s most charming features. Grrrr...
On Sunday, Jonathan and I wrestled with the flat tire and finally got it fixed. I had also bought us new lights for the dark upcoming months, so we cleaned and outfitted his bike and the Julep. I was excited to ride her into work this morning, but also a little bit scared after being off of her for so long.
The Julep is a dangerous bicycle to ride. I rode my road bike only about five times this summer, and his handlebars are much higher than the aggressive Julep. The low, bent over position of the Julep alone was enough to make me feel uneasy. Plus I was clipped in. Most importantly, she is a fixed gear bike. Fear of her ‘kicking’ me if I dared to coast was in the forefront of mind along with "don’t forget to clip out."
Add to this the speed at which the Julep travels. She is geared much, much higher than the Dork Bike, on which I had to spin faster than I prefer to maintain speed. Despite her higher gearing, the Julep isn’t much harder to pedal because she is so much lighter than the Dork Bike. The Julep is made for speed, and the ease at which she jumps to 20+ mph, after riding the Dork Bike is shocking. My familiar route flashed past me in blur today, even though I was pedaling at a lower cadence than I was used to on the Dork Bike.
Every lick of danger is intensified at high speeds. While getting doored on the Dork Bike wouldn’t be pleasant, I don’t think it would seriously hurt me – plus at low speeds, I have more reaction time to react to danger. The Julep offers no such protection – getting doored would launch me into traffic and the pavement.
Riding her reminded me of when I first made her. There is this feeling of being lashed to something not completely within my control – sort of like a runaway horse (complete with the fear of her bucking me off.) Despite my nervousness, she is exilerating to ride, and of course I was the rider who got to have the fun of passing the other pedaling commuters.
I can’t wait to get used to her again so I can ride her at full speed. I’m hoping that the cadence training of the Dork Bike will transfer to the Julep. If so, she’ll soon forgive me for locking her in the basement all summer long, because she'll love the chance to go fast.