Thursday, December 6, 2007

Advantages of riding a fred (utility) bike for midweek training

At the risk of sounding like I've taken a big swig of the Rivvy juice, I have to say there are some advantages to riding a utility bike during midweek commuting/training. There is beauty to having a wider tire with a bit more tread and high handlebars and fenders and canti brakes.

The bike I ride this time of year is a bit of a Frankenbike. It was originally a Soma Doublecross, which I built up for touring. It has a triple crank, bar end shifters and a Brooks leather saddle. The handlebars are WAY up to the sky, right where I like 'em. All fun and comfort (as opposed to my racing bike, which is tollerably comfortable, but I don't prefer to ride it). Since purchasing this bike, I've added S&S couplers (yay, free plane travel for the bike), fenders, dynamo hub with lights and a saddlebag for commuting. I switch to more substantial racks for touring. This bike is quickly approaching 20,000 miles and will probably hit it before daylight savings switches back. It's been through the Alps, the Pyrenees and many, many trips between home and training rides and work.

This morning, I hooked up with my friend Erika for a loop in the Los Altos Hills. She brought our friend Josh along. Admittedly, it was some work for me to lug my 40 lb. rig with luggage up the steeper part of the climb we did. But, as soon as the road turned down, I was seriously gapping the other two. Then, I left them to go back to work and continued on my ride. I added on another loop that went into Cupertino. As I was coming down the home stretch of that loop, I saw this nice piece of single track that I've always wondered where it went. So, I pulled off on to the trail, since I had a lot of time before my first meeting. This is not something you do on a rainy day on a racing bike. I whooped and hollered my way along the trail and ended up needing to do one runup in a steeper place. I can't practice my mounts with the saddle bag. So, I just threw my leg back over and continued. I wasn't sure where it would end up. I turned down through a horse farm, which dropped me off near the railroad tracks. I knew those paralleled Steven's Creek. So, I followed them along until I dropped of on to a road and eventually on to Steven's Creek. At that point, I had about an inch of mud on my tires and a bunch splattered on the bike in general.

Sweet single track in the green space below:

After a quick diversion home to use the hose, I headed into work with a nice 2.5 hour training ride and some 'dirty girl' training in the mix.


Jackie said...

Oooh, what a great sounding ride.

My old 1984 Miyata is tricked out now with fenders, etc., for around town, but if anything happened to it, I'd cry a long, long time. I quit counting at 60k. and it still rides as good as new - what's a few scratches?

Not many people have downtube friction shifters and we tend to wave at each other on the road - like MG TD drivers (had one of those once, too, and wish I'd kept it).

chatterbox said...

Ooh, you're even more retro than I am, Jackie! I had friction/freewheel on my old Italian racer until this year - I 'upgraded' to 10 speed and brifters - mostly so I had a backup racing bike available. 60K is a good bike. Keep it until it breaks!

Rick has an old Trek tourer from the late 80s that he has downtube friction on, but he is going to go SS/fixie on that soon, I think.

CyclistRick said...

I thought I was the retrogrouch ;-) All of a sudden you are becoming quite the 'dirty girl', which is a good thing.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I'd just love to be able to ride any bike to work. Lucky you!