I am recently enamored of the my Trek SOHO S fixed-gear bicycle. I bought the bike because it’s bad-ass; at least as much as a bike can be bad-ass. It seems to weigh about 5 lbs., it’s relatively inconspicuous and not theft-worthy, and the fixed-gear turns everyday riding into an experience.
So I’ve been riding this bike for about a month now and I love the way it works. The first week was tough because it required me to rethink how I ride a bike. No longer could I just coast to a stop or quickly squeeze through a tight space by coasting and tucking my legs into the frame. The pedals just keep turning. I also learned that my ride to and from work goes much faster. I don’t know that it actually takes me less time to get to and from work, but constantly peddling makes it seem like I’m moving much faster.
I haven’t taught myself to do Track Stands. You see the messengers doing this at traffic lights. I thought they had some secret messenger power that allowed them to pull this off, but it’s because of the fixed-gear. It’s as if I’ve been given a magician’s hat.
My relationship to the bike recently grew much stronger. We were in a minor accident this past Thursday. It was a crisp and clear morning and I was biking to work. I crossed the BU Bridge from Boston to Cambridge. I cold see ahead that a row of cars was stopped at the end of the bridge. As a good fixed-gear cyclist I slowed momentum by applying some resistance to the forward motion of the pedals. As I got closer I saw an opening between a car and the curb. It was narrow, but I thought I could get through.
I started moving in between the cars. I reverted to an amateur maneuver to avoid hitting the car’s mirror. I leaned slightly to my right, turned my leg inward and stopped peddling. The bike had enough momentum that the pedals kept turning. The turning motion dislocated my knee and pushed me and the bike to the ground. F&!*# that hurt! My knee popped back int0 place as I fell to the ground. The car sped away unaware of what happened. A student stopped to make sure I wasn’t hurt and concluded, “tough commute,” before walking on to class.
Walking on the knee hurt more than riding the bike. So I made it to work that morning and I was fortunate that I didn’t damage anything in my leg. Just some bruising and pulled muscles. So I should be ready to bike again on Monday.
The whole experience made me love my bike more. Kim and I decided about 2 months ago to not use our car any longer. In fact, we’re looking to donate it now. So far, we’ve gotten by on Zip Cars, public transportation, and bikes. We recently purchased a B.O.B. Yak Bicycle Trailer to help us get things to and from our community garden, the grocery store, and pick up any other large items. It’s pretty sweet even though it greatly or completely diminishes the bad-ass nature of the bike. I think Kim likes the flag the most.
Today I installed the Yak on the back of my fixed-gear death machine and rode it to the garden. It’s only 3 or 4 miles away