A couple of weekends ago I was chatting with some friends on a Saturday morning ride. I hadn't seen Don and Barb all summer, since they head for the hills to escape the summer heat. Don made a comment about my bike, a 1997 Trek 930 mountain bike I've converted to a singlespeed all-rounder.
"You like riding singlespeed?" he asks.
"Yep, this is the bike I grab for most of my riding"
"Ever try riding a fixed gear bike?"
"I've thought about it, but just haven't bought a cog for this bike"
"I've got a fixed gear bike, but I never ride it" he said.
He pulls away after a few minutes, and I chat with some other friends. Towards the end of the ride, Don pulls alongside me again and asks "What size bike you ride?"
"50 or 52 cm"
"My fixed gear bike would fit you, I think. You want it?"
This got my interest, as I have really been thinking about trying a fixed gear bike. Singlespeeding is perhaps one of the most enjoyable types of riding I've ever done, and riding a fixed gear sounds like a real hoot.
"Sure, if it fits, and the price is right"
"How does free sound?"
"Are you sure, Don? I'd be willing to pay for it"
"Nah, I got it for free, so I guess I should pass it on to someone who will use it. Call me when you want to pick it up"
Fast forward a week and a half. I've been pretty busy lately, and hadn't had the chance to call Don, but this last Wednesday I finally got the chance.
"Hey Don, were you serious about that bike?"
"Yeah. When are you going to get your bike out of my garage?"
"How 'bout tomorrow after work?"
"See you then"
So after work I headed to Don and Barb's house. When we went into the garage, there she stood.... A beautiful black and yellow, lugged steel Nishiki Tri-A, converted to fixed gear, missing a saddle and pedals, with two flat tires. I throw a leg over, and it's a little taller than I'm used to, but the dangly bits are clear of the top tube. We chat far a while, then I put the bike in the back of my truck, and head home.
When I get home, I set to work. Put a saddle and pedals on from my spare parts collection, replace the tubes in those oh-so-skinny 23 mm tires (I can't believe I actually had tubes that would fit!), and stood over it again to make sure it still fit. A little tighter, but still ok. A few minor adjustments to the seat height, and she's good to go.
Down to the parking lot, and with a little trepidation, I shoved off. Immediately it tried to buck me off, but I was finally able to at least stay upright, and keep my feet on the pedals. What a different sensation! Can't wait for tomorrow morning, to get it out on the road and see if I can figure out how to ride it!
This is without a doubt, the most Rivish bike I've ever owned. It's tall enough to be able to get the handlebars even with the seat with the stock stem, and there is about 3" of seat post showing. I think I'll be able to get 32 mm tires on it. Plus, it's got lugs! The last lugged steel bike I had was my old Fuji, almost 20 years ago.
So, now I share a 620 square foot one bedroom condo with 5 bikes. If it keeps going like this, I'll be sleeping on the balcony!