Track bikes are to ‘cross frames what stilettos are to Crocs. Not everyone can wear them, much less wear them well. To a good portion of the population, the distinctly sharp shoe is simply impracticality in its most feminist-inhibiting form. To others, heels that tower ever higher, ever more constrictive, are something of an art to be mastered at any expense.
Both track bikes and 3 inch pointy-toed stilettos look like [aero] dynamite. But looking good on them takes a fair bit of practice, both indoors and out. Sure, you might be able to saunter effortlessly around your apartment in your best heels...but that’s no guarantee that you can navigate a carpeted room with the same swagger. So while I’m fairly confident in being able to keep the rubber side down on the rollers, encountering wind and real asphalt is a different matter.
There’s some convoluted reason why I have two single-speeds, though, and with laziness plus a tinge of boredom with the usual Dover ride creeping in, it was time to get reacquainted with the Dolan. The bras drying on the top tube got dusted off, the mostly flat tires inflated, and looking every bit the serious cyclist except for the whole sneakers and toe clips part, I jumped on.
Or, clambered on awkwardly. You know those situations where you end up losing your shit at someone and then inadvertently bump into them the next day before you’ve forgiven each other? Or maybe you have forgiven each other via some kind of easily misunderstood medium like email, but have been slightly avoiding each other since? And then you’re thinking, “awwwkwwwarrddd,” but you don’t want to say it because they might misconstrue it and think you’re more of a jackass than you actually are?
That was like me and my own track bike yesterday. It’s not like I don’t remember how to ride fixed, despite all that time I’ve spent on a freewheel. But I’d been severely negligent long enough that I had to do the requisite clumsy dance where we each felt each other out before proceeding with the day’s plan. It only tried to take off my leg off once, but we got along grandly after that. Even the knees cooperated.
It wasn’t a ride at all, just some good ol’ dicking around. I rediscovered things I already knew like “this thing can go fast,” and “holy shit, I cannot stop this thing,” along with “I am extremely uncomfortable going downhill even with a front brake on.” I practiced my trackstand and set a personal best record of .01 seconds.
There was a shower at the end, but no buzzy post-ride exhaustion. I probably burned more calories
gchatting trying to decipher my reading later that afternoon. It was [outdoor] time in the [track] saddle though, which, like those awkward post-fight moments with friends, is something I’m just going to have to get used to.
There’s going to be a lot of stumbling involved, of course, but in the end, if there's any correlation between friendships and bicycles, it’ll all be worth it.