I’m Going To Town On This Thing

I’m proud of so much of what I’ve accomplished over the years, but I’m perhaps most proud of being declared “the most legit city slicker in all the land” by this guy:

I’m talking about the guy in the sunglasses, not the guy with all the forehead tattoos.

By the way, the above ads were served to me as I read an article in the New York Post. I realize reading the Post is not sanctioned legit city slicker behavior, but it was a cycling-related article, so what can I say, they got me to click. (Hey, at least it wasn’t the Times.)

Anyway, as a legit city slicker I’ve got more regular business in the city these days, which means I’ll be commuting more, which in turn means you’re going to hear more about city slicker-type cycling–though of course there will still be plenty of Softride content and the like, don’t you worry.

A city gent should always have an appropriate city bicycle, but each city places different demands on both bicycle and bicyclist. Because New York City is crowded and theft is a major concern, a bike that is lightweight, maneuverable, and minimal is particularly advantageous, and these attributes often trump other practical considerations. This is why the fixed-gear has long been popular here. However, residing in the more rarefied northernmost portion of town as I do, my commutes are considerably longer and hillier than that of the average fixed-gear rider, and it is for this reason I curated this exquisite conveyance:

It’s comfortable over long distances yet highly maneuverable, and its compact, racy proportions make it easy and efficient to lock up–note that one can secure both wheel and frame with a single u-lock:

But as fine a bicycle as this is, it lacks certain attributes that make it a true all-weather commuter: specifically, it lacks provisions for both fenders and racks. Full fenders are important for obvious reasons, and racks are especially useful in summer, because a backpack will leave a great big sweaty wet spot on your back, so you want to get your crap off of your person and onto your bike. Also, skinny-ish tires are just fine for flitting about the trendy precincts of the city, but when you live at the city’s crumbling edges it’s helpful to have some extra volume, especially at night when potholes are easier to miss. All of which is why I’m increasingly looking to the Eye of the Tiger for urban trips:

It’s fast, it’s comfy, it’s reasonably compact, you can load it up, it accepts all the accessories you could possibly need for urban riding, it makes it clear to the knowledgeable passer-by that the owner is an aficionado, yet it’s not so precious you feel feel funny locking it to a pole.

Since I expect to lean more on this bike for urban duty, I recently made some changes to further optimize it in that regard. For example, as you can see above, I ditched the supple tires and reverted to the more robust WTB All Terrains I’d previously been using. I also fitted it with the new Arclight Pro flat pedals I just received:

They’re bigger, grippier, and the bearings feel smoother, which probably doesn’t matter that much in practice, but is still nice:

No, they’re not as thin as a regular mountain bike pedal, but a regular mountain bike pedal also doesn’t have lights in it, now does it?

More importantly, they offer just as much standing room as their non-illuminated counterparts, and should I want to use the bike for trail riding I don’t need to worry about swapping pedals:

They also come with spare pins so that you can immediately lose them:

Well, I’ll immediately lose them, anyway. In fact I probably already have, and I bet they’re residing in the same alternate dimension as all those spare buttons that come with new shirts. But of course it’s good they include them.

Besides the pedals, I also put on a longer rear rack:

Which will accommodate a pannier or pannier-like portaging accessory:

I received that bag from Two Wheel Gear a few years back and was using it regularly back when I used to ride to Brooklyn for the radio show:

Judging from their website they’ve revised it considerably since then but I liked it just fine at the time, and it’s got a pretty handy spring-loaded clamping mechanism:

Just pull it back to release:

And push it down to attach;

Yes, the Brooks saddle and the quick-release seatpost mean you need to take a little extra precaution if you’re leaving the bike unattended for any length of time, but at my age I deserve to be comfortable, and overall it’s a fine commuter:

With an exuberant color palette quite fitting for this time of year:

It’s not where you’re going that matters, it’s how you get there that counts.

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