Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fushing Freds...

I'm fat and I'm proud. Or something like that.

I'm also a one bike to rule them all type of guy. Well, let me rephrase that. I'm a one bike to rule them all type of guy because I don't have the disposible income necessary to own N+1 bikes and I'm married to a wonderful and level-headed woman who helps me keep my consumeristic desired mostly in check. If it weren't for her I'd probably have a different bike for each day of the week because I like bikes. I like they way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell...

So, being a one bike type of guy, I ride the same bike for trail riding, daily commuting, and anything else I want to do by bike. As the pictures show, my bike has a bit of a girth problem. I ride fat because given the state of the state of Alaska for most of the year, it makes the most sense to have the fat tires for dealing with snow and mud and sand. And it's just damned fun to roll on something that is essentially a big-boy's Tonka truck. I'm okay with being obese.

But what I can't quite get my head around is the looks I get while out riding. Or maybe I can. I'm sure it's the same look I'd give to someone driving a monster truck on the road.

Fat bikes, as they are colloquially known, do seem to inhabit the same realm as the monster truck - highly specialized and inefficient for anything beyond the intended purpose. To many riders, particularly roadies, riding something with a 4 inch wide tire on pavement probably seems like something only a sadist would attempt.

And while it is definitely more challenging to get up to and keep speed with the fat bike, I ride it that way because I love it and, I would conjecture, it is a better workout than riding a lighter bike. See, I could switch to a slightly skinnier tire for the summer. I could build up a new set of 29r wheels and roll on a 2.1 inch tire. I could, but I simply love being fat. It makes me smile. So what's wrong with that?

Besides, it's fun in the early stretches of spring to be able to blow the doors off of roadies who are just coming out of hibernation. Only happens for a week or so, but the look on their faces when a fattie rolls by at 24 mph is just priceless.

On the commuting front, nothing new to report. The bus still runs and I still ride it. Things do seem to be falling out of my panniers lately, though. Yesterday it was my lock and my keys and my Kindle - all of which were promptly picked up and returned to stowage. Today I think I lost the bungie cord I use to strap the bike down in the bus.

One of the cool things about riding the bus is having time to read each morning and afternoon. I just finished up an interesting novel - Zazen by Vanessa Veselka. At first I though the novel felt like a second-rate Don Delillo rip-off. Maybe of White Noise or Cosmopolis. But  as I started getting deeper into the book I realized that while there were clearly influences there, the writing is much different than Delillo's and the in the end I was fairly impressed with the work. I'd recommend giving it a read.

Now I am reading The Listeners by Leni Zumas. I'm not terribly far along into this one, but so far I'm enjoying it. I find myself drawn to literature that is a bit odd-ball. I like it when a book can throw me off by the insertion of a random non sequitur (Isn't random somewhat the definition of non sequitur?)

I think maybe that I am drawn to anything that shows lineage back to Delillo. I like the self-awareness and the fearlessness that seems present in these types of works, as if the author can just say whatever he or she wants regardless of how it fits the "plot." The problem is that an unskilled writer can lay that on a bit too thick and then destroy any willing suspension of disbelief on the reader's part. It's a fine line and when it works, it works well.

In music news - check out Palms. Good stuff. Nuff said.

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