Okay, let's talk gear. Normally, we at SVBC do not concern ourselves with the type of bike people ride, as it is of little importance to us what you ride, so long as you are able to do so safely. However, I feel the need to delve into gear today – and the riding styles gear influences – as some people have taken up the misguided belief that SVBC is here solely to promote this:
Of course, we do support recreational riding and racing – who says you have to go to a gym to get some exercise? But fast riders on $5,000 bikes are certainly not the only folks we look after. In fact, I was reminded to write on this topic just a few minutes ago, following a bone-jarring ride on Corinne's drop bar commuter on the way to pick up lunch. I'm in awe of the fancy-pants racers I see: going fast is fun! But feeling like a newborn gazelle atop one-inch tires is not for me, especially when navigating the potholes, train tracks, and granola-like asphalt in this town I call home. No, I prefer something a bit less wobbly. I'm willing to sacrifice a little speed for something fatter. This is my ride:
At just over $400 and weighing in somewhere around two or three hundred pounds, my ride isn't the fastest or slickest, but those 2.2″ tires eat up the bad-economy asphalt and I've only gotten two flats in the five years I've owned it. It's the kind of bike popular with people who need a bike to get to work, because they don't have a car. I won't be riding any centuries on it but, truth be told, I won't be riding any centuries, period!
When people from bike Meccas like The Netherlands and Denmark see the bikes we ride here in the US, they're stumped. Why would we suffer, hunched over, in clicky shoes and squeezy shorts? They aren't used to riding places where it's important to keep up with traffic or be able to dodge clueless drivers as they exit driveways. They have the luxury of toodling along at a leisurely pace, usually astride a massive steel beast like this:
Look at his suit! His shoes don't even have clips or straps or little aerodynamic booty covers! It blows the mind, I know. But that is precisely the type of bike you'll all want to ride to work as we succeed in getting more and more bike infrastructure built. Start shopping for your very own 800-pound, steel, basketed, step-though, two-wheeled sculpture.
So, you see, it's not what you ride, as long as you ride. We've got your back, no matter your style, even if you prefer recumbents, also known as “The La-Z-Boy of the bike world.” If road bikes are gazelles – light, quick, and built like twigs, these bikes are buffaloes – hearty, full of stamina, and easy on your back. Okay, that analogy didn't work so well. Here's a picture of a recumbent:
I hope this little diatribe has set the record straight: SVBC is not a bike racing cheerleader organization. We love bikes, all bikes, and are here to protect and encourage those who choose to ride them. Some of us (me) don't even want to ride a squirrely carbon dealy where the brake levers are down around our shins and the smallest bit of road debris might send us tumbling. Rather, we want to make it easy for you to pedal to your heart's content, whether that involves a weekend criterium, a trip to the store, your daily commute, or a jaunt with your kids down an off-street trail. Enjoy your ride, and don't stress about your gear.