Friday, July 22, 2011

Bicycle Love: It's Complicated

I love my bicycle. But, like most intense love affairs, its complicated.
My Trek touring bike, a 1985 620 frame with a mishmash of components is easy to love for many reasons. The soft ride that 46 inch wheelbase, axle to axle gives me, the beautiful and shiny and new cobalt repaint job and the touring handlebars that make it comfortable to ride on the drops most of the time, satisfies any bike lust I might have.
But even well oiled and adjusted, the friction shifting 18-speed has its moments. Like the times when wiggling that barcon will just not bring it into gear I am reminded it is not an easy ride to love. And those old style cantilever brakes may me long for the dependable stopping power of V-brakes on a mountain bike.
But brifters (levers that combine braking and shifting) are just not me. I have friction shifted thousands of miles. I like the feel of it when it works which is most of the time. And I rarely ride in a pack so I don't need the precision brifters give. And I like something I can work on in the field. Who has overhauled an STI lever at a park picnic table after a 60-mile ride?
Like I said. Love is complicated. Even when its with a bicycle.

No comments: