It's a sad thing, really -- but I think the sun is setting again on my fixed gear time. Something has changed, and I feel lately that fixed and single speed has lost some of it's luster - at least with ME. After a near-injury, I've hung the Steamroller back in the garage, and have mounted up on the geared bike again. No sooner than I make this change, I get confirmation that is was the right choice.
I'm sitting here, logging in the blog, listening to David Bowie drone out the early verses of "Space Oddity", and I have visions of riding home last night and encountering another rider at 83rd and Mission Road --
ok, don't ask me what I was doing THAT far north on a Tuesday night...
Anyways... this guy was MONEY.
There he was, backwards ball-cap on, jeans, polo-style 3-button shirt, messenger-style bag slung-up close - and a gorgeous, no-name-on-frame blue fixxie - with a noticably huge gear. He was in the left turn lane, coming off of 83rd onto Mission Rd north-bound at about 7:15pm - and while he waited for the light he was performing the most perfectly-still track-stand I've ever witnessed. Even the traffic in the lane next to him took notice with jaw-gaped stares, as he floated above the tarmac without even a visible motion or twitch.
He was a complete ROCK, standing on the pedals, and balancing perfectly.
This happens only a day after I've decided that commuting to work on a fixxie was "killing me". First, a botched skid messes up my left quad a little - which has since healed, but hey - it happened. Downhills were becoming a "chore". Seeing riders like him puts in perspective what kind of rider *I* am. While I was nervously trying to get my own fixxie zen back this week, practicing the nervous track-stands again, hoping the light would stay green so I wouldn't have any stopping "issues", and the like, I see THIS guy on the road.
I can track stand, so long as I don't actively THINK about it.
I can hawk thru traffic with the best of them, I can even skitch - I just don't make a habit of it. But I see riders like this guy occasionally that SO totally fit the fixxie-rider mold, that I feel horribly inadequate. Anyone would!
Everything I lack in fixxie-zen, I suppose I make up for with endurance and climbing ability on geared bikes. A good friend said it best: jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. If I picked fixed-mode and stuck with it, I suppose there are certain things I WOULD pick up: but I float too much; away from gears, and back again. My goals dictate "training". Fixxie for me leans more towards the BOB-ish, touring fixed-gear rider; not the skilled, stripped-down, messenger-style, urban-soldier like this guy at Mission road appeared to be. The Steamroller as it's built-up now, with full fenders and Carradice bag, doesn't quite hold the same kind of fascination as this guy's bike did for me.
Still, the experience made me smile and nod-with-approval more than it made me self-aware and introspective - despite the comments above. Watching him perfectly parked on the pavement like he was, effortlessly propelling himself forward once the light changed - pedalling silently northbound, blinky lite flashing away - it was a gorgeous moment. As I stood opposite him with my foot down, easily rotating the pedals backwards into the optimum position for my next move, in just-the-right-gear to start up again - for a moment I felt like a slacker, envious of his skill.
If we *ALL* could do what he was doing, it wouldn't be NEARLY as cool... and that's why we need people like him: the standouts, the rebels. Me, riding to work with my fancy bag and my fenders and my gears and helmet - it's "safe", it's almost "normal". Fixed gear is a different breed. If there is indeed a picture dictionary out there, THAT GUY needs his picture next to "fixed gear".
THAT is how it's done. The rest of us are just pretenders.
Peace, bro -- if I run into you again, the beers are on me.