Wednesday
Jul292009

« Fixed. Broke.  »

Okay, the bike itself is fun to ride when I am not getting flats!

You already read about the first one on the way home from the bike shop, the subsequent walk up the hill to get a new tube, and so on. I rode it to work and back on Tuesday and all was well, but I was riding on the new tube in the old tire. The old tire got thrashed in the first flat incident but it seemed usable. Not such a good idea, that. There was a blister where the puncture was and somehow on the way to work, it was deja vu, but with a not-so-fast loss of pressure. I was half way to work but ended up having to walk the last mile or so. Damn. I took the bike right back to the shop for new tires this time, since those stock things are obviously good enough to get a guy in trouble. At least all my bikes are now equipped with new tires that are more suited to this type of screwed up debris-ridden pavement riding I have for a commute.

Actually, getting two flats in the first few days got me a little gun shy, so I rode the Specialized to work today. (I'm not used to having a road bike. It has been 20 years since I had my ten speed bike with its narrow tires, so I forgot how sensitive things could be.) Today's ride gave me a chance to A-B the two bikes. The Torelli fixie has a 70 inch gear and the freewheeling Specialized has a 62 inch gear. But I noticed upon returning to the Specialized that it seemed to be more work to push it than the Torelli! I think that is the fixed gear flywheel effect at work, something that is lacking on freewheel bikes where only the rider moves the bike, and momentum alone does not benefit the pedals. Still, the Torelli will be more of a challenge on any hills since it is a harder gear. But on the flatter roads it is a delight, almost like a limo. And yet it is different than just having a singlespeed freewheel or even cruising in a single gear on a geared bike. There really is something to the business of having all the parts linked to one another all the time, and being strapped in too. The chain tension is noticeable and part of this mojo; geared bikes have so much slop in their complex derailer systems, and the cheaper ones sort of have a certain amount of give that makes me a bit shy of bearing down on them in higher gears. But with fixed, it all works immediately and positively, no scraping chains on derailers, no fear of skips or anything. Just power transfer. Sweet.

I don't anticipate I will get a flat every other time I ride the Torelli. From the ten miles or so I have ridden it, I like it a lot already.

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