In cycling and in life, one must strive for balance. To that end, some days I ride into the city, and other days I ride away from it:
In the city you’re likely to encounter a Onewheeler in the bike path, while outside of it you’re likely to encounter the dreaded Cervidae Nonplussus, or “nonplussed deer:”
This sort of behavior is what comes of having no natural predators, and it also explains the behavior of their urban counterpart, the “entitled gentrifier.”
I also maintain a sense of balance when it comes to my wardrobe. In the city I wear designer cycling jeans and seasonal pastel hues:
While outside of it I wear MUSA shorts and a vintage Nashbar shirt:
As for my bikes, in the city I ride this:
Whereas this is its rural–or at least suburban–counterpart:
Somewhere in the comments last week-and I’m way too lazy to figure out where–someone took issue with the design of the Homer’s seat lug, which frankly I find surprising:
I mean I’d never try to convince someone to like something they don’t like, and obviously my own tastes are highly suspect (I wear a Nashbar shirt for chrissakes), but my first thought when I saw this was, “Wow, that’s amazing–this bike’s lugs have lugs!” Even the cutout is painted! I mean I guess the whole stay situation is chunkier than the one on the Platypus:
And it’s not chromed and pantographed in the high Italianate style:
(Is that even considered a pantograph? I’m talking about the seatstay, not the sticker.)
But silly me I thought it was classy, and certainly wherever your eye wanders on this thing there are curlicues for it to follow:
Too bad the cutouts in the bottom bracket shell aren’t also painted, because it RUINS THE WHOLE BIKE!!!
Actually, for all I know painting those is a huge aesthetic no-no. (“Thou shalt not embellish with paint any lug below the axle line!”) At any rate, THANK FUCKING GOD there’s some paint detailing on the dropouts!
Speaking of the dropouts (Or is it a fork end? Oh, who gives a shit?), you’ll notice there’s a pair of eyelets. There are also some in the middle of the fork blades:
Meanwhile, at the rear of the bike, there are attachment points on the upper seat stay:
As well as mid-seatstay:
Plus another pair of eyelets on the rear dropout:
I am not currently using any of them, as I find the saddlebag sufficient for my sandaled meanderings:
The reason I mention all of this is that every time I ride this bike I marvel at how good it feels and then I think, “I should just commute on this too.” I even think it while I’m riding the Eye of the Tiger bike, which also feels really good, but is not as comfortable and refined. This makes it sad, which is why it likes to sulk in the dark in front of gothic structures:
From a purely practical standpoint, the Homer would make a great commuter precisely because of all those eyelets and braze-ons; on the Eye of the Tiger bike there are only single eyelets front and rear, which means I’ve got to double up on the rack and the fender stays–which is fine, though I do find I’ve got to snug up the pannier-side bolt ever so often and it would probably be more secure if they each had their own eyelets. (No doubt the cheap rack is also a factor.) It’s even got a proper headlight for those late-night return trips on the Hudson River Greenway, and is just a rack and a pair of fenders away from being a dream commuter:
From a more emotional standpoint, as a semi-professional bike blogger of a certain age, I increasingly find myself thinking, “Why not commute on a really nice bike?” I’m a published author, father of seventeen (17) children, and ride around on a fucking Softride half the time just so you don’t have to. Don’t I deserve a city bike so decadent and sumptuous that even its lugs have lugs? Also, I love riding it, so why not ride it even more? Moreover, I’m not worried about it getting scratched, or dented, or even stolen–I mean yes, I’d be extremely annoyed if it got stolen, but it seems a shame to use something you love just because you’re afraid something might happen to it. Old Man Petersen himself also wrote about pretty much this same thing recently, and how we’re sometimes disinclined to use something because it’s too “nice.” I do think this can be a shame–especially if you’re someone like me who has like nine million bikes anyway. It’s not like when I was a messenger and my one and only bike got stolen, and I was forced to ride around on my cousin’s crappy old Mongoose until I came to my senses, got an office job again, and immediately went into even more debt to replace it.
Ultimately though, what keeps me from giving it the full commuter treatment (at least for now) is that I like it kinda “stripped down” (to the extent a Rivendell can be stripped down), and I don’t want to have to keep putting stuff on it and taking stuff off of it. Plus, while I don’t care about dirt, scratches, or even dents, I do like everything to be running quietly and smoothly when I head out for a purely recreational ride, and when you have lots of bikes you have the luxury of “compartmentalizing” them mentally, which means when I head out on this one (or take it with me on vacation, it’s been my Dedicated Summer Vacation Bike for the past two years) I’m not annoyed that something’s noisy or not working well, and I don’t associate it with dodging bros on Onewheels:
Just the local potholes:
Yes, we’ve got gravel (or at least poorly maintained roads), and we’ve got dirt:
And the Homer is at home on all of them:
It’s the country version of my city bike, and the loosey-goosey version of my clipped-in road race-type bikes. It could probably replace any of those…but why?
You can never have too many bikes, just as long as they’re all properly balanced.