Friday, October 16, 2015

October Ramblings and a Little Bit About Everything

October Rambings: It's still summer in Texas, back to mountain biking and why 
I've been riding a fixie lately.

In a few days, the weather pattern will change and then we will be complaining why it's so freakishly cold here in Texas. For now, we are still getting high's in the 90's, although mornings are a lot cooler than they were a few months ago. Texas weather changes in an instant. Many times trees here do not get to show off their fall colors before a cold snap comes and shakes all the leaves off of them. Winters in Texas are very hard. They are as cold as up north but usually without the snow and the general wintertime ambience. What we do get in the winter here in texas are strong winds, cold winds, howling winds. Wind gusts that can easily knock someone off of their bike if they are riding out in the countryside. In short, I'm not looking forward to the upcoming weather, but it is a part of life and if I manage to dodge getting bronchitis this year I'll consider it a good winter.

A few years back I wrote an article about fixed gear bikes.  Although I'd like to point out that I was mostly accurate about everything I said in the article, I also made an error in judgement. I portrayed fixed gear bikes in a mostly negative light and made implications that those who ride fixies are reckless adrenaline junkies that don't really care about cycling. In doing so I dismissed a whole movement, a whole subculture that took place in the mid-aughts right underneath our noses. What's worse is that most of the guys who really took to riding fixed gear bikes are around my age. I got into cycling a different way, riding geared racing bikes with the older demographic of Sunday club riders. Fixed gear riders didn't need Lance Armstrong or Phil Liggett to tell them that cycling was cool. While many of them were tricksters and rode their bikes like I use to ride my skateboard, fixies got many young people on bikes that ended up being really good cyclists. When I worked at a bike shop, the strongest riders in the shop all rode on fixed gear bikes. All of them could hold 20mph averages and had good climbing and sprinting ability. Maybe I should have been racing alleycat races instead of training for the Hotter N' Hell, or working on my track standing ability instead of obsessing over bike components and weight. So recently I bought a fixed gear bike, and it has been almost exclusively the bike that I use when I do road riding. It's a bike that leaves my thighs reeling in pain, and I get more fitter doing shorter distances on my fixie than longer distances on my geared bikes, even if my average speed is higher on the geared bikes. Fixed geared bikes also have an advantage in that they are the only road bikes that come with traditional geometry someone can buy new. In a sea of compact frame options, only a handful of manufacturers are making steel and traditional frame geometry bicycles. Those that do charge north of $2,000 for a bike, but the fixed equivalent of the same bike can be had for $400-$500 brand new. Putting it that way, fixed gear bikes have the biggest bang for the buck.

With the shorter days and the cooling weather its time to take the mountain bikes out of the shed and hit the local area trails. I have already started doing one or two mountain bike rides a week. When the cold wind gusts get unbearable, I will probably be exclusively riding in the woods on my mountain bike, where at least I will be shielded by the trees. I'm looking forward to more mountain biking adventures in the coming months.

Stay tuned for more "ramblings" from A Bicycle's Point of View.

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