I Coulda Been A Contender…No I Couldn’t

It’s Friday! Now of course I don’t have a real job, but based on what I know of the workplace from watching “The Flintstones,” Friday is payday. So once you’re slid on down off the back of your brontosaurus, why don’t you give some of your hard-earned money to the Kissena Velodrome?

I’ll be darned if this little crater of camaraderie out there in Flushing hasn’t captured my desiccated heart. To think, for years I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to race with a bunch of uptight roadies at dawn in Central and Prospect Parks, when instead I could have been out here at a civilized hour with a bunch of affable hipsters. Much more importantly, the Star Track program is incredible, and over the past couple of years they’ve turned my elder son into an actual bike racer…which I have a feeling I’ll come to really resent them for when he wants a pair of crabon wheels or something, but I’ll worry about that later:

And of course you can donate to my son’s crabon wheel fund here:

Speaking of bikes that have only one gear ratio, having divested myself of my Midlife Crisis Fixie Mark II, today I headed out on my ever-so-slightly-less age-inappropriate Artisanal Singlespeed:

Thank goodness my slightly younger self was stupid enough to order himself a fancy custom singlespeed. I’d never do such a thing today. Actually, maybe my slightly younger self wasn’t so stupid; maybe he was incredibly thoughtful and generous soul and knew that slightly older me would really appreciate it, what with having to spend all his money on gas to get his elder son the velodrome and all.

Even if you’re old and creaky-of-knee, singlespeed mountain bikes (note to the kids: I realize this looks like a gravel bike, but back then we considered these mountain bikes, crazy right?) are not only a lot of fun to ride, but there’s also very little that can go wrong with them. In fact, the only problem I had was that my saddlebag kept ejecting itself from the saddle:

This was because I’d jammed a cable lock in there for post-ride drinking purposes and the Velcro couldn’t handle it, so I finally removed the lock and stuck it in the pocket of my jorts.

Singlespeeds inherently give you very little to worry about, but I like to live dangerously, so as you know I’ve fitted mine with a bamboo handlebar that is not technically rated for mountain biking:

I continue to enjoy the almost decadent built-in flex, though on a singlespeed mountain bike you’ve really got to crank on the bar sometimes, at which point they start to feel a bit vague. But that’s not really what the bars were designed for anyway…nor am I the same rider I was when I was the 183rd BEST SINGLESPEEDER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD:

Those were the days.

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