I have always seen road bikes as superfluous and silly, the toy of transport for the self-indulgent– those who ride for exercise, sport, and speed, with little interest in practicality.
I failed to see the point of a bike with little-to-no fender clearance, narrow tires that suffer through street cracks, and a shameful lack of carrying capacity. My interests veered toward bikes that easily accommodated wider tires, fenders, and racks.
These preferences for a multipurpose setup cultivated a belief that I was prepared for anything, from an unplanned evacuation or cross-country tour to a trip to the grocery store. I patted myself on the back for my devotion to the practical steel touring frame and all its trappings.
Two years ago, impulse overtook my sensible side and I purchased my first road bike, a Bridgestone RB-1. For the next year I let the fenderless skinny-tire bike idle in the Dining Room Bike Shop, denying its occasionally plea to be ridden with weak excuses. It might rain. I might need a triple. Those tires… too narrow for D.C. potholes!
Time passed, and the Bridgestone waited patiently in the Dining Room Bike Shop amid all the touring frames, sure that it would one day have its time.
Felkerino and I put the finishing touches on the RB-1 this spring, and over the summer I took to riding it on sunny weekend days. This little red hot rod showed me the ways of riding light and fast.
That doesn’t mean that I’m actually riding fast, mind you, but compared to our tandem and my other bikes, the RB-1 rides like a rocket. We move swiftly on flats and zip up hills without any additional gravitational pull caused by bags or fenders. Without Felkerino, I’m half a bike!
I smile and pedal away under the summer sun. I feel fit and strong, finally understanding the attraction of riding light. The sensation of speed seduces me, and as soon as my ride ends, I eagerly anticipate the next time I will reunite with my dear little RB-1 hot rod again.
NOTE: Shout-out to our friend Jerry, who finished his cross-country tour this weekend– 9,254 kilometers in 9 weeks, including a spectacular rando-style stint between Minneapolis to Pittsburgh (1,570 kilometers in 7 days). You’re amazing!