Another New Outside Column!

Hey, look at that, another new Outside column already!

Policymakers seem to assume bike shops are novelty businesses. However they tend to forget there are essential workers out there who depend on their bicycles and need them serviced, whereas frivolous cyclists such as myself are more than capable of rubbing Proofide into our own saddles:

And yes, I’m still sticking with the whole “no fenders” thing, even after yesterday’s rainy ride:

Though I have added a bell:

I stole it off my younger son’s bike, which has like 19 bells on it. (Kids love bells.) Not only was the ample quill stem begging for some sort of accessory, but my usually empty trails are now full of people, go figure.

Meanwhile, I continue to find reasons to exalt this bicycle. For example, there’s a street near me that I use to gauge how smoothly a bicycle rides:

My lousy smartphone photography doesn’t do justice to what a mess this street is, but this bike practically hovers over it like a schnorrer over a buffet:

Obviously wheelbase and tire volume have a lot to do with that, but I also credit the cockpit, which has some flex built into it. It’s ironic that we’ve spent the past 20 years building bikes with increasingly massive headtube and handlebar diameters in order to increase the stiffness, for which we now have to compensate by incorporating suspension systems:

Meanwhile a one-inch headtube with a quill stem and a 25.4 bar clamp diameter accomplishes the same thing.

Funny how that works.

Anyway, despite the rain I did venture briefly onto the dirt, and if I squinted I could pretend I was in the Pacific Northwest:

When you can’t travel for the foreseeable future, playing make-believe is the next-best thing.

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