Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Love and a single speed

I am one of those people who does not throw the word "love" around trivially. I do not love movies, my job, books, or just about any other inanimate object you care to think about. I, of course, love my wife Sherry and the life we have together. You could probably argue that I love good food and great wine. But mostly, I reserve the idea of love for family and friends. With that said, I have to admit that I may love my new single speed bike.

Back in June, as I was finalizing my training for the Terrible Two, I ran across an article on training with single speeds. On our rides we also talk about single speeds from time to time, especially when one goes by. I've always thought they were very cool for reasons I really can't explain. So I start doing more reading and talking to Coach Tim and decide the time has come.

So I put on my I "heart" bike porn cycling socks (courtesy of Tim) and hit the Internet. After some significant research I made my decision. I was getting the Specialized Langster. But which model? The paint job of each model is patterned after a city such as Boston or Seattle. Some have mountain bike style handle bars while others have drops. So I finally selected the Boston since I wanted drops. I don't have any real connection to Boston, I just thought it was the best looking of all my choices.

So a short time later I was in NorCal Cycling talking to Phil, the manager, and I asked if they had any Langsters. They had a few at their other store but not the Boston. Then Phil starts chatting with me about single speeds, why was I thinking of getting one, how much fun they are, etc., and says, "Let me show you something." He heads to his office and comes back with an industry catalog showing the 2009 models. He turns to a specific page and shows me my bike. The Specialized Langster Las Vegas. It was pure cool! So cool that I decide to be patient and wait for the new models to arrive.

In mid-October I begin to see on the Internet that some shops already have the 2009 models. So back to NorCal to see Phil. He had not pre-ordered any Langsters so we place a special order and I wait some more. Then it arrives. Within days it is built out and ready to roll. It is even cooler in person. From the dice, poker chips and playing cards down to the "gold" head stem and brakes, this bike screams cool!

On the first ride I felt like a kid again. I chose a 30 mile route with a few rollers. Taking what the road has to offer without being able to shift changes everything. If you want to go faster, pedal faster. If the road goes up, pedal harder. There is just such a simple beauty in that. The funny thing is that I missed shifting more on the down hills then on the small climbs. Of course, I did make myself laugh a few times when I realized I was trying to shift.

So today was the second ride. I left my house and went on a Tour de New Bike. I road past 4 coffee shops, not including Starbucks, in 3 separate downtown areas. I rode on roads that I know are very popular cycling routes. I even rode past the houses of 2 friends just in hopes they would be outside. To be honest, I was simply having a blast and hoping someone, anyone, who could appreciate it would get a chance to see the new ride.

The next challenge will be a group ride. I can't wait to see if I can hang with them as they waste all that finger energy shifting while I simply ride along. And, I live in Sonoma County where there are plenty of hills, so it won't be long before I truly get tested.

Until then, I think I'll just keep playing with my new toy and reminding myself that simple really can be better.


2 Comment(s):

Sarah said...

Simpler is better. That's why I ditched Facebook. ;)

ANYWAY, did you ride past my house? If so, I wish I would've been out!

I can't wait to see it. But you're not bringing it on the Riviera Ride, are you? Maybe Sunday we can go out for a spin?

Lee the Cyclist said...

I did ride by your house! It was all dark and closed up. It very much had the feel of not being awake yet.