When I was a child from age 6 or so up until 11th grade (1975), I rode a bike everywhere. From 71-75 I rode a single speed, banana seat, high bars, burnt orange colored, Schwinn. I’d run out of the house, jump on the bike, and pedal 2 or 3 miles around the hood, to this friend and that, to the local 5 & 10 store, on the road, on trails, jumping hills and ramps, I never went anywhere without my bike. I never once gave a thought to what I was wearing. Never wore gloves, helmet, or sunglasses. Never carried water. Never carried tools, and oddly enough, I never flatted on a ride. I honestly don’t remember fearing any hill, and don’t recall ever tiring while riding. This was a pure and simple cycling experience that I treasure.
Now, when preparing to go for a ride on the Riverwalk with my wife and grandson, I need to put on my biking shorts, check the air in the tires of all the bikes and the trailer, be sure I have tools and spare tubes and a patch kit. Check my lights, pack spare batteries. Load my cell phone and digital camera and make sure I pack more spare batteries. Pack up our seat-bag “cooler” with water and juice and a Diet Coke for my wife. Load the bikes on the truck bed bike rack. Bungee them down for extra safety. Oops, forgot the Mity-8 cycle computer, go back in the house and get that. Don’t forget the helmets and sunglasses and gloves. Well, you get the picture. It seems it takes at least 20 minutes to “hop-on” my bike now. Sometimes I long for that simple quickness and instant satisfaction of just jumping on a bike and pedaling away.
I just happen to have an old steel framed “Open Road” bike, circa 1987 from Sears. This one was their top of the line at the time and I got it for about $250.00, which back then was a lot for me. I wonder what it would take to convert it to a fixed-gear. No lights, no racks, keep it cheap and simple, ride it close to home and not carry anything. Sometimes I just feel the urge to ride and where is not as important as “right now”. I think a fixie would be great for those urges, or a “quick fix”, if you will. If I get to the point where I do more than think about it, I’ll let you know how it works out.
In the meantime – It would be great if others could share how they get their quick fixes when the urge to ride “right now” strikes.