there are bikes, and then there are bikes…

When I say bike I mean bike…bicycles. Not motorcycles or motorbikes. Pedals with human legs pushing them to make them go.

Back as a kid I think I rode my bike everyday…or at least nearly everyday. I remember I had an old-styled red one. Finally I got a BMX bike…my black Huffy. That bike saw a bit of abuse in it’s days. I went through the freestyle mode with a Dyno Compe that was painted in brighter-than-the-sun orange with black bars. I rode it quite a bit, but never did learn much for tricks (bar spins were about all). I then wanted a mountain bike. I got a turquoise Murray that would probably be too big for me even now if I rode it today. At that time I had no idea about frame size…but I do remember that bike was huge and the seat post couldn’t go low enough. I then went to college and got a Specialized Rockhopper A1 FS. I still have it.

I haven’t ridden my Rockhopper nearly as much as I’ve wanted to. It is a cool bike, but now once again my ideas of a nice bike are changing.

I blame my brother for getting me to understand how much faster bikes without knobby tires can be on pavement. I always knew street tires were better, but I also assumed that as long as a knobby tire was pumped up full it would be fairly close. haha Yeah, not so much.

I also blame my brother for getting me to understand skinny tires…you know…the tires on old 10-speed bikes. I knew they were faster on pavement, that’s not the issue. I was scared of them. I had the idea that you were screwed if you hit a stone on the road, rode over a big crack in the pavement etc etc. My brother has an old 10-speed bike with skinny tires. While visiting I rode it for a very small bit, but it was enough time to understand: there’s no reason to be afraid of skinny tires and those weird looking 10-speed style bars (drop bars).

I blame Portland, OR and my Rockhopper for my next change in view on bikes. There are alot of bike riders in Portland. During my recent trip I saw people riding all types…mountain bikes, old crappy bikes, expensive speed bikes, and single speed bikes called fixers. A fixed bike is basically this: when the rear tire moves, the pedals move. If you push the pedals backwards, the bike goes backwards. There is no coasting on a fixed bike…if you’re rolling, the pedals are moving. I even saw some people riding fixed bikes without brakes. I remember taking my brake off my Rollerblades way back in the day…but taking brakes off on a bike? Crazy.

But then I got to thinking about it. For a long time I had the idea more gears = more choices = better. Now I’m thinking less gears = simplier = easier to maintain = more pure fun = better. I’m now looking to get a single speed bike. There are bikes that can be single-speed freewheel (you can coast), or you can take the rear tire off, flip it around, and it becomes a fixed bike (pedals keep moving as long as the bike is moving).

At one time I thought skinny tires and single speed/fixed bikes were insane. Now I’m looking forward to trying one out at a shop and possibly buying one. Wow how things change…

Written by majafa



700c x 32! Which, in the spirit of road tires really isn’t all that narrow.

Technically a fixed gear bike without hand brakes still has brakes – stop pedaling and the rear wheel locks. Similar to our first ever bikes. Single speed with no brakes is a different story. Or even single speed with only a front brake seems dangerous as if it fails no back up.

Also, it’s actually illegal here to not have a least one hand brake on your bike, even if fixed gear.


skinny tires = skinnier than I’m used to with my mountain bike.

I didn’t mean to imply riding a single speed bike without hand brakes.

My old way of thinking…all bikes with skinnier tires than my mountain bike and no extra gears = insane.

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