Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chicago (Beverly)
Bikes: Merckx Team SC, Masi (fixed), Merckx Cyclo-Cross
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Mayor Daley, Mu Uno and the Advance of Cool
Mayor Daley has lost his mind. Now that they Olympics are shot and the critical eye has turned directly on him, many political pundits are thinking this is his final term. His final term as long as they can find someone decent to run against him, that is.
Just for fun, go to youtube and type in the keywords "Daley" "Hitler" "Olympics". The video is very funny but they won't let me post a link here, IYKWIM.
I hate paying for parking; hate it in an irrational, hard to defend way. I'll spend $2K on a pair of carbon wheels but I won't spend $19 to park my car. I'll spend $150 on a bottle of wine for dinner but I'll walk three blocks so I don't have to valet. I don't know why I am this way, but I am and I can't change it.
Generally I commute to work by bicycle but this year I broke my wrist in a race and have had to drive. Mayor Daley pushed a plan through the city council that allowed him to sell the parking meters in the city. It's been a big story which you can search if you're interested. Basically, the price to feed the meters shot through the roof with the private company keeping all the quarters and the city making it's money on the parking tickets it writes. As you may imagine, they write a whole lot more tickets than ever before.
I used to have a little street where I'd park, feed the meter 4 quarters, then head to work. It was close, only a couple of quarters, everything good. Then the changes came, making it impossible to park there any longer.
What I've been doing is parking in the projects and walking the mile or so into work. I have a crappy city car that calls zero attention to itself so there's no reason for anyone to break a window. There's also a bunch of Indian restaurants on the street that attract cabbies 24/7. It's safe, it's just very inconvenient. I don't mind the walk in the summer but with winter coming that walk will be intolerable. The building where I work offers monthly parking for $125 which is a real bargain, but like I said I hate to pay for parking.
Which brings us to the Mu Uno. I generally don't need much of a reason to buy a new bike but this situation brought a pretty solid argument. Buy a folding bike, keep it in the car, park where I've been parking, and ride the little bugger into work. Mu Uno bringing life more options.
I pulled the trigger on the Mu Uno because I like the simplicity of a single speed with kickback brakes. I have no experience with folding bikes and pretty much figured everyone that rode them dressed funny, ate tofu, and smelled of patchouli. I'm a cool bike racer, I can't ride a folding bike.
The first thing that struck me was how smartly the bike was designed. Those slide rule ELO listening geeks really did a number on this bike. It's do damn ingenious even the dog took notice. The folding mechanisms are both smart and simple; work soundly and assuredly every time. Some really good songs have a 5-10 second bit that sounds so good and cool it makes you want to listen to the song over and over: that's the feeling you get folding and unfolding this bike.
Unfolded, idle, the bike looks sexy. The Shadow is a perfect color choice, giving the bike a speedy, sexy look with just enough mystery to turn eyes. The ride is like a glass of fine reisling, spirited, crisp and fun: I didn't know something so like this could be so like that. My only regret is I can't really see it the way people on the street can see it when I ride by.
I only tweaked it a bit. I took off all the reflectors, all the little warning stickers, and the front brake. I cut an inch and half off of each side of the handlebar because I like them a bit more narrow. I then went for the kickstand like any old school, Greg Lemond lovin, Husker Du listenin bike dude would do. "Hell to the no" I thought, not this time. That kickstand works. It's not heavy. It's stayin put.
This bike will always be practical for me, never replacing the Colnago for adventure, but my practical window is now greatly expanded. To paraphrase the old joke, I will proudly let my friends see me riding it.