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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-09-03, 10:41 PM   #1
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Rhythms

My usual ride is about 12 miles one-way, for the sake of getting back and forth to work. I have a nice view on the trip; the lake is to my left and soot-laden architecture of an old city to my right (I ignore the pre-fab condos). When the asphalt changes and I immerse myself in the morning Loop traffic, I feel a rhythm begin: right on Chicago, left on Clark, cross the river, right on Wacker. These are pre-programmed and I do not need to remember them. Ever.
I stop at Wacker and La Salle, grab a Camel and let flame touch tobacco. I watch the day unravel with a fury of blurred cars and pedestrians lost in concrete veins, traffic signals regulating this pulse all the time. I stare, wanting to see the meaning of it all, but only find myself looking beyond this mess, beyond the obvious and flashing to different times: my red Schwinn with ape-hangers and a metallic red banana seat (my Dad bought a top tube from the local shop to convert this bike from a “girl’s” to a “boy’s”) creeping down the Chagris River in Panama with 70lbs of death on my back, seeing my first son open his eyes for the first time on May 28th, and walking up to Holy Family Hospital having my Aunt tell me my Grandfather just died.
I shake this and flick the butt to the curb, my lighter in my pocket (I always double check). I catch a break in the light and swing through the intersection, now southbound on La Salle. After Lake, I am cutting a path through buildings. They are so goddamn tall they appear to fall away as I look up at them. It is dark and the sun is out.
My mind is waiting for Adams, so I let it do its job. Miss the green at Randolph. No hurry right now so I stop, half in the crosswalk. Waiting, thinking, and my rear wheel is pulled to the right. I guess my other half was too far in the crosswalk for one gentleman. I make sure he knows that I disapprove of this; I get the middle finger and a challenge. The bulldogs tense, I shudder but not out of fear. Words like rockets sail across the small portion of road between us, something about my mother. My eyes will not let go of this bastard, this morning stain. My bike falls away as I am drawn towards him. I stop, go back and grab my bike and continue my journey with this man. Inches separate us now; I count the hairs on his nose and can tell what he had for breakfast (black coffee and a donut - there’s powdered sugar in the cracks of his lips).
How many children do you have? Where are you going? What do you do? Are you happy? Do you know what the **** you just started?
This thread fogs over the anger, the volatile reaction this man has caused. 2 quick jabs and he’s mine. I can do this. Something tells me to. I am pulled from inquiry to violence so quickly now that I am becoming enraged at everything. **** him. **** anyone that thinks I am a speck on the road. **** you for not stopping. The world outside me has now become muffled.
An orange vest appears between us: “Honey, you need to get on your way. Better things to accomplish today. Don’t you agree?”
My face relaxes and I see the Chicago police car hovering kitty-corner, fully aware of my presence and what might have transpired.
“Yeah. Not worth it.” (Why the hell did I say that? Such a cop-out)
I turn away with my bike and from the distance hear, “It’s about time he moved.”
I look towards the speaker, another older man, and he catches my glance and replies, “You’re stupid AND ugly.”
I am not sure, but I think he was talking to me.
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Old 12-09-03, 11:33 PM   #2
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I like.
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Old 12-10-03, 11:38 AM   #3
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Makes me want to move back to Chicago...and do it right this time.
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Old 12-10-03, 11:57 AM   #4
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nicely done

couldn't have done it better myself
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Old 12-11-03, 10:36 AM   #5
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Nice. Was that last line in there on Saturday or was I drunk and forgot?
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Old 12-11-03, 10:40 AM   #6
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Nice. Was that last line in there on Saturday or was I drunk and forgot?
yes and yes
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Old 12-11-03, 10:55 AM   #7
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yes and yes

Damn. You're confusing me. I feel drunk again. Hope my students don't realize it.
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Old 12-11-03, 01:05 PM   #8
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they do. I just called the school too, to prevent further confusion on your current state
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Old 12-11-03, 01:21 PM   #9
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I like. Makes you think.. I know my daily commute used to be like that... slowed down alot recently with my move closer to work.
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Old 12-11-03, 04:28 PM   #10
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It's strange reading stories of confrontation. I read them, hear them too often for them not to be real - like tales of public transport last train home comedy-horrors. Maybe it's my imposing figure, the bags under my eyes that seem to be saying "don't **** with me" but are really saying "**** I could go for a nap right about now" or "Get me COFFEE".

But I've never had any roadside roadrage confrontation, short of some drunk kids yelling something indecipherable like an ambulance siren as they go whizzing past.

Then again, I've never lived in Chicago.
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Old 12-11-03, 04:39 PM   #11
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Then again, I've never lived in Chicago.
There's proof in the pudding. Come to Chicago and find out by driving too close to me, cutting me off, etc
HA HA
BTW-no frame this year bud...$$$ ran away with my bills.
Scrimp and save I am trying to do.
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Old 12-11-03, 04:55 PM   #12
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Maybe we all need to cruise the streets in Mad Max inspired singlespeeds wielding Kryptonite New York locks.

I mean, why even pretend to be tollerated? Lets Obliterate the ****ers.....then pull in for a Guinness and discuss Russian Symbolist poetryyyyyyyy and why fixies can only be made of steel. Then we can scour the streets looking for someone riding a Ti fixie and obliterate him as well.

Just another day-in-the-life really.

No probs on the frame, I'm good to go whenever you like. With any luck I'll beat you to the punch. I have a hankering for a SS roadie commuter that ain't going away.
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Old 12-11-03, 08:36 PM   #13
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Isn't it so much more fun to mock someone until they are frothing, while you have a smile on your lips? (I do like a good fight, just not in road shoes )
Once, when working out my stock trials, I found I was on private property, according to the owner of such property) I told her about ten foot right of way from the curbing. Then continued to play dumb to her as she questioned and yelled and got madder and madder. Only left when she went in to call the cops.
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