The Fuji Turd Bike
It's interesting how some bikes evolve. Of the bikes I've owned, I think this has been the most satisfying evolution yet. It's satisfying because it's been so unexpected, and I enjoy riding this bike so much more than I ever thought I would. The bits that have found their way onto this bike really do make the bike much more than the sum of the parts, which is an over-used and hackneyed saying that I hear at work a lot and just bugs me when I hear it -- but I think in this case it's actually true.
For example, the saddle is about the biggest lamest saddle I've ever owned. It came on a garage sale bike (MB-5 actually) that I picked up for a friend. The friend brought the saddle back a couple days later. It weighs about 4-5 lbs. But it's perfect for this bike. It's soft and springy for the upright postion this bike puts you in. Unlike all my other bikes that have leather saddles, which require fussing for rain, this saddle can sit outside in a downpour and be just fine. I really like that. Dig the attached reflector too.
We tried just about every bar we had on this bike. It started with drops. Then it had dirt drops. Then it had a flat bar with a softride stem. I liked that version, especially after I put the barends on there. Liza didn't like those bars. It also had moustache bars on there at some point too. Aside from the flat bars, which made it a really fun go-anywhere type bike, all the other bars just didn't work. I think the main reason they didn't work, especially for Liza, is that the top tube on this bike is pretty long. All those bars, especially the moustache bars, really stretch you out. The albatross bars just flipping rule. They are hands-down the best bar for this bike. Cork grips, one brake, no gear shifters. Clean and simple. Lots of room to grab the "hoods," and tons of rise.
The front rack is pretty decadent for a bike of this pedigree, but I really like it because it can take low-rider panniers, which is great for shopping. The basket that is now strapped to the rear used to be strapped to the front. The basket was on the front when we had a child seat for Maddie back there. We ran studs in the winter, now we have an old pair of Vittora Randonneurs on there. Ideally, we'd have hugely fat slicks on there. Big Apples would be pretty cool, but I've seen some pretty fat (and cheap) rubber for these cruisers that are becoming more popular with the boomers.
I ride this bike almost daily, just because it's fun to ride. My approach with this bike has generally been pretty laissez faire, in that I just don't really interfere with spontaneous impulses to try different configurations and components on this bike. In part, because it's a fixed gear, everything is simple, but also, I've just not really cared much about the bike. Compare this to the amount of fussing and hand-wringing I go through on my other bikes. I spent a month not riding my 520 because I didn't have just the right cranks on there. Jeez. There's a good lesson in here somewhere. Especially considering it's the Fuji Turd Bike I end up grabbing over all others when I want to take a cruise to the store or around the neighborhood.
More to come later on this bike. This is our kid hauler and short run grocery getter. Fixed. With studded tires. No excuses now when the snow flies.
William at 63xc.com asked for a story on this bike. Go here to read about it: http://www.63xc.com/johnspeare/laidback.htm.