Last week someone asked me how many bikes I own. I generally deflect this question because anyone who is surrounded by bad influences (I’m looking at you, Felkerino) and has the money can purchase multiple bikes. So I have more than one bike, but do not consider it any sort of accomplishment.
That said, the question was a good prompt to look in the Dining Room Bike Shop and switch up my commute steed. If a person owns multiple bikes I do think they should, you know, ride them.
I’ve been riding my Rivendell Quickbeam almost exclusively because it’s the best bike– shhh, please don’t tell– but that doesn’t mean the other bikes don’t need love, too.
I’m in a local training this week, but it is an eight-mile ride across town. The way to training is a steady uphill, making the return a nice swoopy downhill glide. The idea of having gears for the week also held great appeal.
I saw the Bike Friday Tikit resting quietly in a corner. I pulled it out, dusted it off, pumped up the tires (stupid Schrader valves), and put a Carradice trunk rack. “I choose you, Tikit!”
“Fine,” the Tikit seemed to say. “But don’t rush me and don’t take me beyond the Beltway.” This bike has a personality of the what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind.
The Tikit’s ride is definitely unique to the other bikes I own. My position is more upright than my other bikes and the reach is fairly short. If I try to push on the pedals to make the bike go beyond its preferred speed of what I estimate is 12 miles per hour the bike resists me.
Carrying capacity is low, right above the little wheel in the rear. If I stand up to pedal the bike dances strangely with me. It takes a couple of miles to adjust to the additional weight on that part of the bike as opposed to being in a Carradice bag hooked directly to the saddle.
Once I accept the Tikit for what it is or, as Felkerino says, I stop fighting the bike, the ride becomes quite pleasant. I settle into the Tikit’s optimal rolling speed, I do the uphill dance on the pedals, and the bike begins to feel like a great commuter.
I did make an unfortunate turn onto one of the old cobblestone streets in Georgetown and I will tell you that a stiff, little-wheeled bike is NOT a good match for that surface. Luckily, all my teeth are still intact.
On the up-side I rode home via the double hairpin and the Tikit passed the double hairpin test. “I may not be speedy, but I am somewhat dextrous, you hapless human,” the bike said.
I would also like to thank my friend Brian, aka @sharrowsDC, for the fine company and creative route choice for the ride home. Brian also made the tricky double hairpin without putting a foot down. Skillz and small victoreez.