Despite my growing predilection for sneakers-‘n-jorts riding I don’t think I’ll ever stop indulging my Inner Fred, and this morning I headed out for a ride on my “forever bike:”
The last few times I put on stretchy clothes I rode my plastic bike:
So this was an opportunity to compare the two Fred Sleds back-to-back (though I did ride the Rivendell yesterday, but let’s just go ahead and consider that a lugged palate cleanser). My conclusion? The Litespeed’s better.
“Better how?,” you’re wondering. Well, it’s hard to say. Whenever I ride the plastic bike I’m impressed by how light, fast, and comfortable it feels. But then I get on the Litespeed and it’s like coming home after staying in a really nice hotel. Sure, your bedding’s a little threadbare, and yeah, the floorboards creak, and okay, fine, that Keurig works better than your gurgling old coffee maker. But it’s home, goddamn it! Nothing feels better than home–and even though I’ve only had the Litespeed for a year, and even though I haven’t changed a thing on it, getting on it just feels like coming home. In fact, it feels so much like home I constantly question why I’m keeping the plastic bike at all, but then I remember that it also feels good to visit a really nice hotel for a few days every once in awhile. So there you go.
Anyway, the Litespeed of course came from Classic Cycles, whose vastly exquisite bicycle museum has become my personal lending library, and as you may recall I’m currently in possession of their American Bicycle Manufacturing M-16:
Which I enjoyed so much last time I rode it that I’m determined to get one more proper farewell spin on it before sending it back to Bainbridge Island.
Once I do, however, I need to decide what to ride next, and Paul at Classic Cycles has put forth three (3) compelling choices. In fact, they’re so compelling I’m not sure I can make the decision myself, and so I’m hereby soliciting your feedback on which one I should choose. Here they are:
3. A 1987 Kestrel 4000:
I mean, talk about indulging your Inner Fred! How could I possibly decide all by myself which of these erstwhile dream bikes to ride??? The Teledyne is deeply intriguing, because not only is it the first production titanium bike, but how often do you get to ride a bicycle made by a company most of us associate with Waterpiks? The Colnago is highly tempting because I have never ridden a Colnago, which is kind of like being a sports car enthusiast and never having driven a Ferrari–and yeah, while a Master or a C-40 would be more timeless, the fact that this specimen is so grotesquely dated would be a big part of the fun. As for the Kestrel, I remember very well when that was the ultimate Fred Sled, and in fact the first (and only) time I rode the Five Boro Bike Tour some middle-aged Freds on Kestrels made fun of my crappy bike. Sadly I did not yet understand how huge of a dork you have to be to make fun of people’s bikes while riding a Kestrel in the Five Boro Bike Tour. Granted, I did figure it out eventually, but spending some quality time on a Kestrel would still be a satisfying form of vindication.
Anyway, I may or may not open this up to an actual vote once I return the M-16, but in the meantime lemme know what you think!