Saturday, November 21, 2009

Infinite Float

I don't know how long it's been since I wore regular clothes and shoes on a bike ride. Years, certainly. But in order to enter the world of simpler riding, today I decided to run my weekend errands on a bike with platform pedals, and wearing regular, non-lycra clothes. I removed the Eggbeater pedals (pictured above) from my commuter bike and replaced them with plain old platforms, put on denim shorts, a t-shirt and some shoes with no pedal cleats. My Pitbull lock and cable were already velcroed to my rear rack. Then, I thought a fanny pack might be better than a seat pack to carry around the store, so I loaded up one as shown above (minus the eggbeaters): Crank Bros power pump [this is not a Crank Brothers ad, it just happened that the pump and pedals showed up together. Although I do like these two particular products, and have used them for years with no problems], tube patches, a mini-tool, a Leatherman Squirt P4 that goes everywhere I do, and my wallet. It may seem excessive for a quick run to the store, but I like to be self-sufficient when I ride. I carry a cellphone, but have never yet called for a pick-up.

The ride itself went great. As the first ride in years without being clipped in to the pedals, I was particularly aware of the different sensations that this simpler foot-bike interface produced: my feet felt lighter the whole time with infinite float. The denim shorts worked fine, although I don't think I would want them for a 30 mile ride, but for a quick run to the store or a short commute, they should be OK. I did wear a helmet, though in spite of the trend of throwing brain safety to the wind apparent in online pictures of people wearing normal clothes. There is nary a helmet visible in the pictures from Amsterdam or Copenhagen. Love the culture and the bike focus, hate the cerebral hemorrhage.

One of the main reasons for trying out the simpler, non-Lycra setup today was to see how it might work to simplify my commute. It would be faster and easier to wear normal clothes and shoes to bike to work. If I give that a try next week I'll report back. For now, I'm going to go lube a chain on another bike so I can put on some Lycra and shoes with cleats tomorrow morning. Get up. Go ride.

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