Having designated all of my bicycles “Excepted Intermittent,” they are all required to help me with any “excepted” rides I might perform. Today, I called on my Bike Friday Tikit to assist me with such a ride.
I departed my house around 10:30, figuring that my Tikit and I would ride out a ways on the C&O Towpath and then make a U-turn when I felt like it was time.
Initially my Tikit was happy as a lark to be out. We wandered by closed monuments together and over to the C&O.
As we crept further away from town I heard my Tikit say, “I am not made for this. I am an urban bike. I like the pavement. I am useful for short rides. I don’t belong beyond the Belway, it’s scary. I don’t think this is an appropriate excepted function you are requiring of me. You should have asked the Quickbeam instead.” It was a pretty long speech for such a small bike.
“Nonsense, Tikit! You just need to apply yourself!” I urged the Tikit forward with my inspired pedal strokes. Since I was sitting so upright it was difficult to get much momentum going. At one point, I actually checked my rear tire to see if I had a slow leak. Ha ha! No.
After the surface became less bumpy, I moved along the C&O and daydreamed. I attributed it to my upright posture and undergeared state on the bike. It basically forced me to sit up, take in my surroundings, and pedal lightly. I made up a to-do list:
- Write a strongly worded letter to my Senator. Oh wait, what was I thinking! Hilarious! We can’t do that in the District.
- Read more books.
- Ice cream.
Eventually my daydreaming ended as I became dissatisfied with my position on the bike, my progress, and the C&O’s surface. The Tikit is not nearly as forgiving as the Quickbeam in terms of off-road comfort. It’s a stiff bike with tough little tires.
However, it is extremely cute so it’s difficult to get too mad at it. As you can see, I took many glamour bike photos along the way despite my discomfort (or perhaps because of).
Further, the Tikit never aspired to be a long-distance off-road bicycle. The Tikit is a fast-fold bike designed for multi-modal transport and short trips (say 40 miles or fewer). It’s not designed for what I was trying to make it do.
I realized that I had been trying to make the Tikit into something it wasn’t and I was paying the price in comfort as well as momentum.
During this moment of clarity about the bike, I determined I would once again to the Leesburg Loop (which Felkerino told me seems to be turning into a “Furlough Loop”). I had plenty of time to ride, several hours of daylight remained, and the bike was screaming for pavement. Okay it wasn’t the bike, it was my rear end.
After a long dawdle down the W&OD trail spinning my legs like crazy and looking like the witch from the Wizard of Oz without the front basket, I ended up in Old Town for dinner and rode the last 8 miles home from there in the dark. Good thing I always take my lights with me– Righteous Bike Rider Moment :).
My poor Bike Friday Tikit is still gasping from today’s ride and I will never ride it again on a century and probably not anything longer than 45 miles or so. It’s just not the right bike for such riding.
I’m sorry for my little Tikit. It’s still designated Excepted Intermittent, but next time I’ll use it for what it’s intended– short urban outings.
C&O Update: The C&O is still officially closed, meaning no restrooms and no pump handles. More traffic today and more families were out. Fewer thru-riders. It looks like the C&O will be busy this weekend, despite it’s official closed status.