We’re all familiar with the final scene in “Defending Your Life:”
And if you’re not, sorry, I just spoiled the ending of a movie from 1991.
Deal with it.
Anyway, the reason I mention this scene is because I identify strongly with it. See, it’s never too late to abandon your Lycra-swaddling, crabon-straddling lifestyle and embrace the art of cycling in regular clothes and underpants. Late as I am, I feel incredibly fortunate to have unclipped and dismounted the Earthbound tram.
Of course, the key to a regular-clothes cycling lifestyle is to curate a collection of bicycles that suggest to the uneducated onlooker that you approach riding casually, when in fact you are just as self-conscious an anal retentive as you were in Lycra, only you’re able to walk when you get off the bike now and you’re going through far fewer razor blades. Consider for example my Platypus, which I put together last May:
I loved the Platypus immediately and rode it often. However, only now am I beginning to truly unleash the Platypus Within. See, despite my own exhortations about judging step-through bicycles by their appearance, at first I underestimated it’s off-roadability and tended to ride it more conservatively. But then I put on what we used to call “mountain bike tires” (I think 2.1s are “gravel” tires now maybe?), which I found to be a good fit for the bike. Furthermore, not too long ago I took it on the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall, where it handled itself just fine, and I realized that, while not a mountain bike, it’s perfectly happy to be thrown around a bit on varied terrain. Finally, this very morning, I made a seemingly minor but ultimately profound change when I lowered the stem by maybe three centimeters:
It was like I’d jabbed the Platypus with an electric cattle prod. The position was still decidedly upright, yet the slightly lower front end imparted an additional liveliness that was quite welcome when I popped back into the Trails Behind The Mall, where it was that much easier to put the front wheel where I wanted it or get my weight over it on short, steep climbs:
I appreciated the lower position equally on the road, where the bike felt less cruise-y and more road-y, and after emerging from the woods I headed to yet another trail that is not behind a mall:
See the deer?
The bike is now very close to what it wants to be, though in the spirit of anal retention I will continue to fuss with it, and the next area of attention will most likely be the shifters:
The Shimano shifters are fine, but they don’t have the precise ratcheting of the Silvers, and once those arrive I may or may not locate them differently on the bar for the sake of experimentation. To that end, during the ride I thought a lot about where I tend to put my hands:
Often I put them in the position seen above, which is how I cut up my finger the other day before I finally removed those stupid set screws:
I am in consultation with the bikes’ designer on the subject of shifter placement, though it could be awhile before I attempt the sort of Avanced Shifter Placement the Rivendell crew don’t even think twice about:
Who needs Blips anyway?
You can put a friction shifter pretty much anywhere. In fact I may just wear it on a bracelet on my wrist and connect it via a cable splitter system when I get on the bike:
Top that, Rivendell!
Shifting aside, I may also have to switch to a larger pedal like I did on the RockCombo:
I have a fondness to beartrap-type pedals that dates back to my BMX-ing youth, when I coveted those Hutch shin-scrapers deeply, ($999.999, LOL!) but somehow always wound up with plastic ones instead. Alas, apparently my aging feet need lots of support so my dreams may be thwarted yet again–though they’re just fine in obnoxiously-hued shoes, go figure:
Other than that, I’m ready to, if not “send it,” at least hand it over carefully:
Ride safe this weekend, and enjoy the season of rebirth!
Hopefully something good is waiting for you when you emerge from the tomb:
It’s the Easter-Pus!