Act Your Age, Not Your Cog Size

With my Midlife Crisis Fixie Mark II now complete I embarked this morning upon its maiden voyage. I wanted a flat route, for obvious reasons, and so I headed east towards Pelham Bay Park. There are some beguiling stretches of greenway here:

One of which leads right out of the Bronx into Westchester County, which begins right after that yellow bollard:

If the Bronx were a giant cat, then I’d be the hairball it coughed up on the front lawn of this giant Tudor home:

So before they could turn the hose on me, I turned around and made for Orchard Beach, a crescent-shaped stretch of sand on the Long Island sound. Upon my arrival I looked left:

I looked straight ahead:

Then I looked right:

Then I strolled along the promenade and basked in the faded Robert Moses grandeur as gunshots from the NYPD shooting range at Rodman’s Neck crackled in the distance:

As for the bike, it’s a jaunty little number:

So far I’m pleased, and I daresay it looks pretty good both coming…

…and going:

Of course in order to justify a new bike I don’t need I have to convince myself I’m reusing a bunch of old parts. In this case, recycled components include the pedals from the Craigslist Univega I rode in L’Eroica California:

And this hodgepodge of a headset:

[I can’t believe I had enough spare 1-inch headset spacers for both this bike and the Platypus!]

Which originally came with this:

If you think a purple Soma is lacking in subtlety, just wait until I get the pink Faggin rolling again!

Other items I found while rummaging in my storage unit include this handy hinged brake lever:

It allows me to shred New York City in my signature polite style, though I can easily remove it should I ever find myself in a situation where brakes are not allowed, such as high tea with a certain Nobr Akes:

[For additional street cred he appears to have Krazy Glued his fingers together.]

Plus, as we all know, brakes are for woosies:

Pretty much everything else on the bike is recycled too, with the exception of this lovely stem:

As well as the crank, chainring, chainring bolts, and bottom bracket:

Obviously I could have just used the crank and sundries from Midlife Crisis Fixie Mark I, but what kind of midlife crisis bike project would this be if I didn’t use a fancy vanity crank that pretty much forces me to go with a large chainring that’s too hard on my aging knees?

Anyway, I did at least use recycled crank arm bolts. (In fact I scavenged them from the Electra, just like I did the kickstand for the Platypus!) Also, in an even bolder act of thrift, I pieced the chain together from my Random Used Chain Drawer–and in a positively transcendent display of laziness, even though it was all grimy, I didn’t even bother to clean it! Instead, I just doused it with Prolink and wiped it off, then I rode around until the grinding sound went away.

So what kind of a person springs for an unnecessarily expensive crank and bottom bracket yet pairs them with rusty old bolts and a grimy re-joined chain of unknown provenance that cold fail at any moment?

Jörs Trüli, that’s who!

(I also think I deserve at least a little credit for using Specialized Armadillo tires that are probably over 15 years old.)

Crank aside, since most of the parts came directly over from Midlife Crisis Fixie Mark I, I can say with conviction that the Soma Rush frame rides much more smoothly than the budget high-tensile frame it replaced–and that’s despite the steep angles and track bike geometry:

It also has some nifty touches, such as the crimped-and-curved chainstays since The Kids Today want lots of tire clearance:

Remember the erstwhile days of Peak Fixie when people were really into “tight clearance porn” like this?

[Picture found here, it’s not actually from the days of “Peak Fixie” nor is it “bike portn” but whatever.]

Well now skinny tires rubbing your frame is out, and aggressive tube-crimping so you can use fatter ones is in, go figure:

[Crimping ain’t easy.]

I did worry the bowed portion of the chainstays towards the rear axle would result in heel strike, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. (Though this is probably not the frame to use if you plan to ride it with flat pedals and Timberlands.)

The fork is also quite a bit nicer to look at than your standard unicrown number:

And overall the new frame makes the old parts (not to mention the old rider) look even older:

But it wouldn’t be a midlife crisis bike without rusty nuts, now would it?

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