"The Holy Trinity"

It's Friday, and I've commuted all week on my fixed-gear. Not serious mileage, but enough that the legs feel heavy as we head into the weekend. As my commute takes me above the crawling traffic, it's hard to fault the freedom and movement. But, rolling that gear all the way to and from work does take something out of you.

The single speed is easier than the fixed gear. Feels like an unstoppable monster truck rolling over the bumps with knobby 2.25" tires. The first pause of the pedals while the wheels roll always causes some degree of alarm. But, the single speed is a freewheel, "coastable" bicycle, and you can actually level the pedals and let gravity sluice you along the trails. Climbing reminds you that momentum is a fickle mistress, and the knots in your neck are lessened by the pulling on the wide handlebars. When you can no longer combine dwindling strength with tenuous traction, the upwards hike makes it clear that walking muscles differ from riding muscles.

The cross bike is easier than the single speed. With multiple gears and larger wheels, you can actually sit and spin your way up most of the climbs. However, attention must remain high, as even with a 35mm tire, half-hidden rock edges can mean a ride-buzz killing flat fix. Riding light is not always easy, and downhills can be quite punishing.

The fixed gear is easier than the cross bike. Smooth roads and an easy pace let you loaf along. Even the incline of the hills on the route pass below the momentum with minmal effort.


updated: January 21, 2006






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