Simplicity

Like Johnny Cash’s Cadillac, I got it one piece at a time–

–the way I get all my bikes–but I can’t say, “it didn’t cost me a dime.”  I did pay for it one piece at a time.  I bought the bike frame a few months ago and began assembling parts.

I wanted to see why single speed bikes are such a rage.

It has a flip-flop, reversible wheel.  I got a big cog for the freewheel side, resulting in a low gear and tried it out on my local hilly roads.  It was a lot of fun.  The low gear makes it easy to make it up the hills and I can coast down the other side.  It’s the essence of simplicity.

My plan is to take it to work and ride it to the Rec center in the afternoons for a workout of the rest of my body.  It will give me a good warm-up and warm-down ride.  It’s all part of my weight loss, save my life plan.

My uncle John died at a younger age than I am now.  He was the one who introduced me, my brothers, and my cousins to Baskin Robbins–I never knew there were more than three flavors of ice cream.  Diabetes is the family curse, and uncle Johnnie suffered badly from it.  He had a leg amputated when he was in his thirties.

My uncle Warren staved off the disease until he was in his seventies.  He attributed that to his practice of following his coon hounds through the woods nearly every night most of his life.  I don’t have a pack of hounds, but my pack of bikes make up my plan to save my life.

My freewheelin’ single-speed is fun and easy.  No gears to worry about, no special shoes, just hop on and go.

But I had to try out the fixed-gear feature, so after re-packing the hubs with new (and better) grease, I flipped the rear wheel around and disabled the rear brake.  The fixed-gear side has a much higher gear ratio (46:16 vs. 46:22), capable of attaining a higher speed but requiring the input of more torque from the twin-piston bio-powered engine.

Fixed gear means the wheel is connected directly to the pedals (via the chain, of course); one can’t move without the other moving.

I’ll report later on my first riding experience.

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