Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fixing to commute again

There was a one-year period where I really embraced the whole fixed gear thing. That was about 8 years ago. In fact, one my first posts on this blog was about the HD trails and riding it on my Quickbeam. Like a lot of folks, I discovered the idea of fixed gear through Sheldon Brown. But the guy that really inspired me was Kent Peterson. He would post epic ride reports on the mile43 website that he did on his fixed gear bike. And I'm using that beat-to-hell term, epic, for real: we're talking about rides from Seattle to Minnesota. In like, 6 days, loaded with gear. What the hey?

After a while, I enjoyed gears and the fixed gear went away slowly. I gave my favorite fixed frame to my brother. But I ended up building up a fixed gear every spring as a way to force myself back into shape. And I've always built one up for ice riding in the winter.

So this year I put the Shogun together as my ice bike and there really wasn't any ice. I rode it to the store a couple times, but otherwise, it's just been in the way in the garage. Last night, I decided that I'd  go back to the spring-conditioning-on-the-fixed-gear-bike approach, and so I put some 32 mm Pasalas on the Shogun.

Bars are sort of jacked up. I' need to bring them in and level them off. 
I expected the commute home to suck for a number of reasons: patchy ice, my miserable out-of-shape-self. Well, that's only two reasons. But the commute ruled. All that snow you see in those pictures is barely snow. There's very little ice under it and it presents almost no resistance. Overall, my fitness level does suck, but the fixed gear really smooths out the effort, which is higher, but reasonable and consistent until you get to the hills.

The last couple miles of my commute is all climb. Not monster climb, maybe 400 feet, but it's steady with some little kickers. The fixed gear forces the hammer down. That's what I need.

I may put some CX tires on it for a bit of trail riding. That FLT section of parallel trail is kind of perfect for this bike.

When I got home, I found a package on the front porch. It's Volsen's old Kogswell. He rode the shit out of it, bringing it on his South American tour. He went through Pat's Rackufacturing Institute and built a bitchin' rack for it. I was all set to find a home for it until he reminded me that he had adapting it for 26" (559) wheels, which makes it way more interesting. It'll probably become the new trusty turd. At least for a year or so.

Here's a picture of this frame when I owned it and it had 650b's:

I think it might look like that again. But with 559s. And a single gear. Verily.

Seeing that picture reminds me of a wreck I had on that bike on the HD trails: the old front-tire wash out. Freaky stuff; I just flew like superman off the trial and down the side of the bluff. To this day, every time I go by that spot where it happened I tense up a bit.


Dylan said...

Man, Pat really needs to open up a satellite campus for the Rackufacturing Institute. One can NEVER have too many racks: fact.

Patrick Sullivan said...

Hi 将軍! ♥