And The Horse You Highway in On – Bike Snob NYC


I’ve been driving this bike so much:

That’ll change, it all the time adjustments. I transfer from bike to bike like a mariachi band transferring from desk to desk. However in the intervening time the bikes I’m driving essentially the most are that one and this one:

The Milwaukee is the “leisure” one and the Homer is the “commuting” one. I hesitate to make use of both time period as a result of in a method they’re each deceptive: one sounds enjoyable and the opposite sounds onerous, however actually I take pleasure in them each. If something, it’s the commuting that’s leisure, since I select to do it after I may simply as simply take the subway, whereas the “leisure” driving is obligatory, since my each my bodily and psychological well-being rely on it and for me there actually is not any different viable choice–like, I’m not taking on pickleball. For me it’s bikes or nothing.

Anyway, the upshot of all that is that I’ve been spending in all probability half my driving time on the Milwaukee and half on the Homer, and I gotta say in case you wish to journey bikes then you are able to do so much worse.

Given how a lot time I’ve been spending on the Milwaukee, I’ve additionally been occupied with so much about street bikes, and what we typically name “street biking.” Through the years I’ve had an evolving relationship with street bikes: I’ve been the solitary younger beginner dork; the intense bike racer dork; the previous bike racer dork making an attempt to insurgent in opposition to roadiedom by squeezing 28mm tires into short-reach calipers and sporting clothes that doesn’t match; and naturally the solitary outdated seen-it-all dork I’m at the moment. However the one fixed–moreover the sheer persistence of my utter dorkitude–has been the presence of a street bike in my life, even after I’ve tried to spurn them and switch as removed from them as potential:

For years, street biking has been synonymous with silly guidelines, excessive anal retention, basic humorlessness, and unbearable elitism. Nonetheless, I’ve lately come to understand that, regardless of the simple existence of riders who exhibit each a kind of attributes, street biking is basically essentially the most accessible type of driving. That is not to say it’s for everyone; in case you hate driving street bikes you hate driving street bikes and I’d by no means attempt to discuss you into loving them, in the identical method I hope you’ll by no means attempt to discuss me into your recumbent. (For those who hate street bikes I’m simply assuming you journey a recumbent.) However it’s to say I’ve realized how a lot I like street bikes and there’s not any sense in preventing it. Right here’s what I like about them:


I imply positive, they’re not all easy. You’ll be able to overcomplicate something with batteries and fluids and plastic and stuff:

Basically although they’re very simple machines. Take a look at this one, for instance:

[Classic Cycle]

It’s over 50 years outdated. What can’t you do on this factor that you could’t do on a street bike at the moment? Yeah, newer bikes are extra refined, however one factor I’ve discovered from all of the outdated ones I’ve gotten to journey due to Traditional Cycle is that no matter you’re driving you get used to it fairly fast. For 5 minutes you’re like, “How did folks ever shift like this?” Then per week later you’re like, “The street bike was mainly perfected 70 years in the past, why do we’d like any greater than this?”

It is because the bikes are easy. A diamond body, a handlebar that permits you a number of hand positions, and some completely different gears. (Whether or not it’s 5 or ten or twelve of them actually doesn’t matter all that a lot.) It’s mild and robust. You should use it to journey across the metropolis or to climb a mountain vary. There are bikes that can carry extra stuff or take you deeper into the woods or that could be simpler for the inexperienced bicycle owner to deal with. However I’m unsure there’s some other kind of motorcycle that can permit you to take action a lot with so little.

They’re Quick

[Chronicle Books]

Even in case you’re not excited about racing or Strava KOMs or Cat 6-ing folks within the bike lane it’s good to have a motorbike that’s quick. It doesn’t need to be aero or put you in some loopy place or be uncomfortable or impractical to journey. Any respectable street bike arrange to fit your needs correctly will probably be inherently quick–possibly not as quick because it presumably may be within the “marginal good points” sense (who cares anyway?), however as quick as anyone wants a bicycle to be.

So why is it good to have a quick bike? The identical motive it’s good to have a quick Web connection: extra bandwidth. I couldn’t care much less about being sooner than anyone else, however as an individual with duties generally I would like to have the ability to go so far as I can within the time allotted to me. This isn’t all the time the case–generally I’ll prioritize consolation, or carrying capability, or the flexibility to journey on tough terrain–however after I need most worth out of my biking greenback than nothing beats the street bike when it comes to sheer effectivity. It’s like ordering a cocktail as a substitute of a beer.

They’re Low cost

No, they’re not all low-cost:

However due to the ubiquity of the street bike and the truth that it’s been round for thus lengthy there are a variety of low-cost ones available–like cheap-as-the-pedals-on-that-plastic-bike low-cost:

And regardless of what you might learn elsewhere you’ll quit little to nothing over newer, fancier ones–and something you do quit you’ll greater than make up for in mechanical simplicity and the comfort that comes with it.

You Can Do It Wherever

[My ass, Specialized.]

Far more of us dwell surrounded by odd roads than the kinds of huge wilderness areas we see on the bike firm web sites and the outside way of life web sites that peddle their wares for them. Granted, a few of these odd roads are fairly horrible–so horrible that possibly getting in a automobile and driving to the huge wilderness space is a gorgeous proposition for you relying on the place you reside. Nonetheless, for these of us whose lives are too busy to afford us a “way of life,” a street bike is your best option for an journey that may start as quickly as we stroll out the entrance door.

They’re The Essence Of What Bicycles Are All About

See this man?

Snigger if you’ll, however he’s your forebear. That’s the place it began. He’s standing subsequent to the primary pedal-powered machine that would carry folks effectively throughout lengthy distances. Each race and group journey and biking membership owes its existence to this man and his mustachioed driving buddies, in addition to all the ladies riders who ditched their skirts for bloomers. By 1903 his bike would have seemed like this–not all that completely different from a street bike at the moment, at the very least in case you squint:

Then over the following few a long time they received the gears sorted out, now right here we’re.

It is a street bike:

I’d additionally argue that it is a street bike:

And possibly what annoys me a lot about gravel bikes is that they’re additionally simply street bikes, solely with some further tire clearance, similar to the street bikes as soon as had aside from the temporary (within the grand scheme of issues) turn-of-the-last-century interval when the business turned obsessive about short-reach brakes for some motive:

Highway bikes have all the time been capable of go a number of locations, which is why we in all probability ought to by no means had began calling them street bikes and simply known as them “bikes.” I’m unsure when “street bike” turned the dominant time period–in all probability when mountain bikes turned a factor and the business wanted extra specific advertising phrases to distinguish them. (Come to think about it, the mountain bike class might be what triggered street bike brake attain to shrink.) However sporty drop-bar bicycles are timeless and versatile, and what we now name street bikes are a lot enjoyable that even individuals who don’t like street bikes like street bikes.

So I’ll all the time love street bikes…till it will get chilly once more, at which level I’ll write just about the identical factor, solely about mountain bikes.