January 18, 2006

One is all you need.

It's a phrase I'm holding on to, but for different reasons that you've read here before.
I eluded to it in yesterdays post, and last night after the kids went to sleep, I was thinking about it again. Badgerland said it on Sunday's ride, too, talking about his conversation with a bicycle manufacturer, and how his goal was to have ONE bike that could do it all.

Funny -- there was a time when I followed the same philosophy. When did I let things get so complicated??? Reading back over my own thoughts from the past couple weeks, my new goals, my new training philosophy, etc., I'm realizing that there is more happening here than a change in approach, but a change in equipment, too. Fixed gear and single-speed have provided a monster base, and a lot more leg strength than I probably would have gained otherwise, but I have not been balanced in that regard: over 85% of my mileage from the end of 2005 was on a single-gear -- and, thinking back, all the brevets were on single-speed, too. Dang.
Yes -- the time differences between riding the brevets on single, and with gears for me was not a HUGE difference -- I was just as fast without derailluers, so why go back?
Mainly, I've noticed, without gears I've allowed myself to become complacent -- since the excuse for not going faster is built-into the bike, I don't have to worry about making those excuses for myself. "I can't chase, because I can't pedal that fast." Justifications for a fitness base that, regardless of bike, I have let slip. If I have the gears, and I can't chase, it's because I'm out of shape - a fact that I was not willing to admit.

Time to face facts, and retire the single-cogs for a while.

Also, I've realized that a lot of the parts on the good bike - critical parts - were ending their service life. The BB was getting notchy, the crankarms looked really nasty, chipped - opportunities for fractures everywhere, pedals, cables, etc., many items on their 5th year of hard use. Can I really expect a 6th year of use out of this stuff? Time to gather the best bits in a pile, and see what I have to work with here.

Yeah, I'll probably still have a fixxie built up for seriously nasty weather -- but I won't be running premium parts on it, that's for sure. Too tempting to grab it instead of another bike, I suppose. Fixed and single is still an absolute BLAST -- but I'm seeing something of a mental transformation in myself these last two weeks that calls for something more.

Last season, one gear was all I needed.

This year, looks like one BIKE.

After amassing all the parts worth reusing, I'm fairly happy with the results. Unfortunately, I'm turning into a junk dealer in the process. I have this frankensteined-together bike, but at least I know the parts are newer, and probably not prone to fatigue failures for a couple years. It's something to train on, for sure. When bonus-time comes in a few months, however, I'm thinking either some upgrades are in the cards, or something completely new to take on the title of "good bike" in my stable. We'll see -- but for now I have the tools I need to start getting back to business.

Now, Saturday's weather looks good -- intervals on 175th street, anyone?