Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The end of a love affair?

Since my discovery of recumbent bikes, I've been passionate about their virtues. Everyone I talk to gets an earful, and then some, about the advantages of the 'bent and the disadvantages of the traditional diamond frame bike. I originally purchased a RedBent from a huckster in SoCal. Yes, it's a recumbent, but it was a total piece of crap. I quickly upgraded to a BikeE AT. Black and probably the easiest to ride bike that's ever been made. It didn't take too long for me to upgrade from that bike as well. (see a trend?) This next step, was a big one. I jumped from a utility style recumbent (the BikeE) to a high end recumbent legend, the Lightning P-38. This bike cemented the recumbent in my mind as the next evolutionary step in cycling. Agile and supposedly 10% more efficient in slicing through the air. What more could you ask for?

Then came, the other.

After some online conversations with a cycling maniac, CommuterDude, and a few others, I began to investigate the concept of Single Speed bikes. I could attempt to explain the allure of this type of bike, but I'd fail at reaching the essence of what makes them beautiful. Recumbent single speeds are not really practical as you cannot stand up and mash your way up any hills. With a bent, you need your gears to spin.
I experimented with my commuter mountain bike; leaving it in one gear for a few rides. I was considerably shocked to see my average speed increase. Yes, increase. I only used one gear, and I was faster. More importantly, I had fun. More fun than I usually have on the ride home from work.
Fast forward a few months.
I stumble across a guy that has a road frame for sale, cheap. One that he was going to make into a fixed gear (don't get me started on that subject just yet). While I was there, I purchased a near complete bike off him for $40. Two days latter, I take that same bike to the LBS and whamo.. It's a Single Speed.
Now, with just over 25 miles on the bike, it's my favorite bike to ride.
I've begun to doubt my relationship with recumbents.

I even look at fixed gear bike porn
I feel dirty.

A single speed bike is nearly the opposite of a recumbent. Where a recumbent is pushing the envelope of technology, aerodynamics, and engineering; the single speed bike is an exercise in simplicity. Everything that can be removed has been. Including the rear brake.

Am I over my love of recumbents?
Or, is this just a fling?

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