You might be wondering after my last post if I went through with it…So, yea, I got that singlespeed. It came in a box on Saturday and I had Christmas in April at my house. My Grandson was just leaving, 3 year old Luca had spent the morning helping me garden when the FedEx truck pulled up. I let out a yelp like a little kid and he was not happy about leaving me, I had been talking about my bike all morning and he was anxious to see what I was so excited about. I guess he left because I just danced towards the front porch and my bike box; leaving him in the arms of his eager to leave Mom. Sorry Bro, I abandoned you.
It was time to build a bike.
I have to tell you: State Bicycle Company really, really doesn’t want you to assemble their bicycles by yourself. Like if you don’t bring the bike to a verified local bike shop for assembly by a verified bike put-er togetherer kind of guy they won’t give you a warranty. Like the bike does not come with any assembly instructions, nor does the State Bicycle website offer helpful videos. Like if you go on their website and ask the invisible chat person a question they tell you to go find that real bike assembly guy and to stop bothering them. I have never seen a company so determined to keep you from assembling their product. It’s sort of the opposite of customer service… its intentional customer disservice.
So, I got my bike put together in a few hours, it really wasn’t hard. You unwrap it, you bolt on the handlebars, put in the seat post, attach the rear brake and both brake grip thingees, attach the front wheel, hook up the chain, and inflate your tires. I mean, sure I needed to look on other company’s videos for help on YouTube a few times, and run to a local bike shop, back wheel in hand, just before closing, to take off this lock ring thing that only they have a tool for, and that’s it. I had to find out the hard way that the bike ships as a “fixie” and that fixies don’t let you stop pedaling for any reason… ever (Still don’t know how that is beneficial) and then take the back wheel off and flip it around to make it a singlespeed (which can coast and even back pedal). Then you adjust a few cables, find the right seat height, screw on some pedals, hook up your bottle cage and… go for a ride.
It was almost dark by the time I finished Saturday night, so I went around the block a few times to get a feel for my new bike. And this morning I ventured out on my usual 20 mile course to see if I liked my new bike:
I LIKE MY NEW BIKE.
In the first place, my quads gave me instant feedback on how much work my bike had been doing. It was a lot, a real f-ing lot. Having one speed only helped me to realize how dependent I’d become on shifting and coasting, no wonder I still have a long way to go as a cyclist. Having only a single speed forces you to ride more aggressively, you can’t spin up a hill, you have to attack a hill and build up some speed or you are walking. I didn’t walk.
I did remember a part of my childhood joy of riding a bike that I’d forgotten; recalling when I rode everywhere with no gears on my original singlespeed. I enjoyed that feeling of being one with the bike: you and your legs and the pedals. No help required. I realized that this new setup wasn’t impossible, or even harder: just a little different. I plan to ride everywhere on this baby, and go looking for trouble on it: there’s a place called Sugarloaf here in Central Florida that is the highest point in the peninsula and I need to go challenge it. I need to kick my own ass. This weekend I have a 100 mile ride scheduled at Flagler Beach, a ride that I struggled with last year. I’m thinking I might take The Trooper (my new bike) and do the alternate 60 mile ride sans gears and extra chain rings (I don’t think I’m crazy enough to do the 100 mile ride on this baby, but I have 7 days to convince myself). Sounds like a good baptism by fire.
First I need to go see my friend Kameel. He’s a professional bike fitter and I need him to make some adjustments. I’m not sure if I need a different seat height or my handlebars raised higher. Or something totally different, that’s why I’m going to pay the man. (I’ll tell you about my fitting session.)
I guess I need a professional after all… It sucks when the experts have been right all along.