Cyclists can be a hard-core lot, especially when it comes to defending their tribes. The Upright Woolies wouldn’t be caught dead in Lycra, and the Spandex Ballet dancers would never go near a piece of tweed. The Flower Girls love their wicker handlebar baskets and pastel frame colors, and the Fixerati love their stripped-down, one-gear specials.
Rarely do the tribes cross lines. I tried to resist pidgeon-holing, but it’s too late. I like my spandex, and my drop-bar road bike. I like my bikes fast and light, and I wish I could afford a racier one. Totally Spandex Ballet. The trouble is, that whole concept is not so ideal for commuting to work through a Northwest winter, when most of the other Spandex Ballet-ers are inside on their flow trainers. A pseudo-racing bike is not what you want when you’re slushing through leaf-paste on a questionably paved trail.
So I thought about crossing over. I don’t think the Flower girls would take me, and certainly the Fixerati wouldn’t. But the Upright Woolies … why not? They ride more practical machines, typically steel, with big tires, big fenders, racks and baskets. And the truth be told, a lot of those guys are faster than I am, even with all that extra weight and the challenged aerodynamics of flapping wool jackets. There must be some finely tuned calf muscles under all those natural fibers.
My problem is, I hate their bikes. I respect them, I get the purpose and the whole aesthetic, and I keep looking at them, thinking I could make it work during the winter at least.
But today I took a look at a nice steel bike, internal gear hub, racks, fenders, wide tires, leather Brooks saddle. Perfect for winter. And I just shook my head. There was no way in hell I was going to get on that thing. Sigh.