Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Long term relationship

If you've known me in the context of bicycling for any length of time, you probably noticed that I don't tend to practice long-term monogamy with my bicycles. I generally alternate between three and five bikes, and I seldom keep any of them in the stable for longer than 6 months. There's always a reason to try something new, to gain some (usually theoretical) advantage for a certain type of riding.

But last October, I bought one of the (then) brand new Surly Ice Cream Truck framesets, and built it to suit my tastes. Around the time I started riding my ICT, I sold off my other bikes, including a Moonlander, Disc Trucker, ECR, and a hot-rodded Torker Graduate (poor man's Straggler). At the time I sold them, I told myself that I'd eventually replace them with something. But in 6 months of riding only the ICT, my desire for another bike is near zero. Here is a photo from today's commute, by the way:

This contraption isn't going to appeal to weight weenies or anybody hung up on the idea that skinny tires roll better, BUT THOSE PEOPLE ARE MISTAKEN. This beast rolls and rolls and then it hits the bumps in the road and it keeps rolling. I've ridden pavement and gravel and dirt and mud and ice and snow and rocks and curbs and railroads and corporate landscaping, and it handles it all even with my mediocre riding skills. I've been doing a neighborhood group ride, and last week we rode 17 miles including the High Bridge (uphill direction) and some hills in West Saint Paul in just over an hour. I don't normally advocate riding that fast, but it's nice to know that it can be done if necessary. Remember that I'm about 50 pounds overweight and I've never been particularly athletic, so you can probably go faster, not that you should care.

The other thing that keeps me from getting another bike is that the fat tires have spoiled me. I get to test ride a lot of different bikes, and one thing that stands out is that normal tires ride really harshly. The 3", 4", and 5" plus-size and fat tires make the road feel as if it's paved with marshmallows. Marshmallows that magically have excellent traction and low rolling resistance, of course.

Granted, I don't do road racing, brevets, and I seldom ride manicured singletrack. If you do those things, maybe a different type of bike will work better for you. I just ride everywhere and try to find adventure along the way. For me, the ICT is totally sensible.