Fixie Town Bike
I’ve been re-appraising my stable this summer. We’re all familiar with the concept of needing one more bike than you currently have… but sometimes you reach the limit of what that means in practice. Maybe you already knew this, but when the bike shed’s full, there are bikes in the study, and a neighbour’s garage is also running out of space because of all the bikes, it felt to me like a different approach was needed.
The other consideration was that the kind of riding I’m generally doing has changed. The commuting tends to involve carrying quite a lot of stuff for quite a long way, and there’s a lot less of the head-down-bum-up-dressed-like-a-Marvel-Comics-reject kind of riding.
So first of all, I got myself a touring bike. It’s a compromise between comfort and speed and load carrying capacity, and ideal for those commuting rides.
Next, I sold my Pashley. Yes it looks great, but at 24kg (no, really) and a bolt-upright going toe-to-toe with the wind riding position, I’d just had enough. I think I decided it had to go some time over the interminable winter that started in April 2012 and ended in June this year. I remember once being late and battling into a headwind for eight miles. That journey took an hour and a quarter. In the identical conditions the following day, I did it in 30 minutes on a road bike.
So that Pashley-shaped gap needed filling. I could of course have bought another bike. But that would have been to go back to doing the same thing and expecting different results. So I opted to re-purpose my fixie.
The changes were pretty straightforward - changing the bullhorn handlebars for Velo Orange’s Montmartre bars; swapping the brake levers for my bar-end ones, and changing the SPD pedals for flats.
The only thing left to do is add a rack - I want to put a porteur rack on the front. Mainly because when we were in Paris this summer, I saw this bike which was the inspiration for the whole thing! But also, just because.
Anyway, here are some photos that we took at the weekend:
At the Rendezvous Cafe, Whitley Bay
Velo Orange Montmartre handlebars
Bike at the seaside
At St Mary’s Island
Riding this bike is strange - it feels like the Pashley’s younger turbo-charged twin. With the shorter wheelbase and steeper headtube, it’s a whole lot twitchier on the handling. It’s also less than half the Pashley’s weight, and having a fixed wheel too makes it feel positively turbo-charged.
The handlebars are also pretty good. On Velo Orange’s site, they look like the grips are parallel, but there’s a slight outward splay to them, so they’re actually quite ergonomic. With headwinds, or just the need for speed, I can grip the lower portion, and get most of the aerodynamic advantage of the bullhorns.
Overall, a success, I think.