Thursday, April 12, 2007

Utility Cycling 101

There seem to be 2 types of cyclists - the "gadget freaks" who get excited about 30-speeds and Dura-Ace and front-shock-absorber-travel and aero wheels and titanium skewers, and the others, who just get on and ride. (I'm too much in the second group. I tend to even ignore preventive-maintenance -type stuff, and not fix things 'til they desperately need fixing.) My bicycle is only really clean maybe once every 3 years.

My friend "Mister Wardle," who maintains an awesome blog about the world of professional bike road-racing, ordered himself a copy of the "ultimate utility bicycle" - the Kona Africa Bike.

This is NOT the bike for people who like to compare their bike with all the others, to see whose bike is the coolest. Single speed, one frame size and configuration (in Model T black), coaster brake... just the essentials. And built to take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

It is being built as a transportation device for people who would otherwise be walking, or riding on water buffalos or whatever.

Imagine how a bike could change your world... if your lifelong transportation had been on-foot!

Q: Can you outrun a charging, hungry lion on your Africa Bike?
A: It doesn't matter... as long as I can ride faster than the slowest guy I'm riding with!


Apertome said...

I mostly agree about the two classes of cyclists, but I'm not neatly in either one. I like gadgets, I have computers on both of my bikes, and a gps which I can mount on either. I love having a mountain bike for trails and a road bike for the road.

I want bike parts that work well, and try to keep things in good working order, but I am definitely not a "weight weenie." My focus is on utility and, more importantly, fun.

db said...

I would be in the same class, apertome.

I have three bikes, and I have a multitude of computers, lights, clipless pedals, lycra clothing, and tools.

But I still do bonehead things like let my chain go unchanged for years, to the point where my local bike shop has to replace the rear cassette after they replace the chain. And you should hear my weight weenie friends complain about how I've "fredded" my lightweight road-bike with some of my add-ons.

So be it. As long as I ride them, that's the only thing that matters.

Bikeboy said...

I love the comments from people who know what they're commenting about!

"Weight weenie." Excellent!

I s'pose my bike is totally "Fredded" out, what with the fenders and tail-blinkie and all! (Hilarious!)

Yeah, I s'pose most of us fall somewhere between the 2 extremes. I'm always leery of going to the bike store, and seeing a half-dozen bikes I'll be buying - as soon as my number comes up on the PowerBall!

Anonymous said...

I consider myself a utility cyclist. I don't ride one bike with a derailer. I have a single speed, couple of coaster brakes and 2 internal geared hubs bikes for low maintenance.