Friday, July 11, 2008

The First Seven Days

Today, I've asked my wife to guest blog. Well, actually, she told me she was going to guest blog, and I said, "yes dear!"

My preferred ride until...I saw the light!

For years my husband talked about building himself a fixie. When he finally did, I thought he was nuts. I mean, who wants to pedal all the time? I wasn’t the only one who thought he was crazy either. In the town we used to live in, the old man running a repair shop just shook his head in wonder, and in our new town, the owner of the LBS pretty much kicked him out when he asked questions about streamlining his fixie.

All summer I have been without a bike. My old 1970s Schwinn, which is too small for my long legs, was fine in the flatlands, but here in hilly country I only rode it once before I said, “Let’s sell it.” Now summer is not the time to be without a bike, but without funds, I was stuck. After much debating and measuring, my husband decided to fix up one of his many, many bikes for me. By fixing it up, I mean changing out the handlebars to upright ones, with God forbid, a brake (which apparently, based on his reaction, is some sort of sacrilege).

Imagine his horror when I declined the use of his spare bruise-inducing Brooks saddle that feels like it’s made of cold hard steel. I know, I know…plenty of y’all use them and they form to your butt and all that, but I still chose the softer, lower-end Brooks that he picked up for fifty cents at the recycle centre, much to his chagrin. Just wait until I make him add the basket, light, fenders, and rack so I can carry groceries! He won’t want to be seen with me. And don’t even get him started on the helmet issue.

But I digress. This guest blog is supposed to be about my first week as a fixie rider, and yes, might I add convert. It’s true. I now see the beauty of the fixie. It was remarkably easy to catch on to the no brakes thing and every time we come home after a ride, I say, “I didn’t use the brakes at all” or “I only had to use them on that one hill.” I find that I’ve ridden around 2-5 miles per day, every day, and that I, like my husband, seem to be fabricating reasons to ride to the Village, just to get one more ride in before dark.

I have only sustained one injury this week, a pretty nasty whack to the back of my right calf, but considering I’ve suffered the same injury on a regular bike (pedal bashing into me as I dismounted in a sort of dicey situation due to road repair and pavement bumps), I am not blaming this on the fact that my cool new bike is a fixie.

The only downside that I can see to riding this bike is that when we go out for an evening ride, it’s hard to stay together because my bike is in a much lower (thank God!) gear than my husband’s. Also, he has no brakes, which is why this was his injury. Oh, wait, it didn’t have anything to do with brakes. He was trying to take a picture while riding. I can honestly say that while he has made me a fixie lover, I highly doubt you will see any photos that I’ve taken while riding because I am way too much into the zen of pedaling (all the time!) to be bothered with photos.

Marriage is about compromise (yes, I actually do like the upright handlebars and I don't think they look geeky!), but it’s also about making your spouse happy when you can. My husband has made me happy with this bike, and the day we rode into the Village on our his-and-her fixies, the pride shone in his eyes. Not to mention when a tourist checked me out and he was looking not in the usual place, but at my very cool fixed gear bike, I thought my husband’s smile would split his face.

I'm converted!


Jolan said...

Great post!

I built up a cheap fixed gear for my girlffiend earlier this year. She was riding a beautiful geared ladies 10 speed, but was having trouble with the gears, it was heavy, etc. We found a (cheap) old step through frame with road drops that I converted in an afternoon and now she's hooked (see it in the myspace link). When we told our friend that she was riding a fixed they were shocked because "girls can't ride fixed gears"! She now has a nice 50's Super Elliots (Google them, to see some nice South Australian bikes) step through frame in mint condition with track ends (that was given to her!). So guess who's getting a new fixie now...?


joseph said...

Great post. Great blog. Just found you. It was just this year that I built up a fixie for the first time. Fresh paint...the whole nine. Actually, I built up two: a baby pink one for my wife and a baby blue one for me. Reading your post has reconnected me with the joy that you mention in your post. The face cracking joy of watching my wife spin on her new I can't help but think that Naveena and I share your joy as she contemplates the zen of spinning while I happily snap pictures of the awesome, human-powered means of transportation.

Jerome said...

Great post. Very nicely done.