Thus far 2012 has turned out to be really good for me. I made a career change from restaurant/hotel operations – to restaurant accounting/finance/consulting. Some of the major changes in my life:
- 8 mile commute
- rarely a late night
- weekends off
My 8 mile round trip to the office (sitting on PCH overlooking the ocean) is all downhill from home and all uphill from work. The elevation difference is 520 feet. Two out of four weeks I am pretty much in the office, the other two I am all over the city meeting with our clients at their restaurants. For those times when I am in the office I started to commute by bike, using April, and loved it. The only drawback was the fact that I couldn’t just hop on the bike (cycling shoes, velcro bands to protect work trousers, and so on). Therefor I started looking around for a good commuter and found Earl.
Meet Earl – a single speed, no-frills all steel commuter bike.
Compared to my 18 pound road bike this thing is a tank, however, only noticeable when lugging it up the stairs to the office. I got Earl in burnt orange, love the color (who knows, with any luck this might add to visibility on the road).Besides, the color reminds me of my Harley Davidson days, but that is an entirely different story.
I pulled the trigger on Earl yesterday at Helen’s in Santa Monica, after taking a second test ride. Earl has a 17 freewheel cassette or can be flipped for a 16 fixed wheel. (I am riding the freewheel). I wanted to climb 26th from Broadway to San Vicente, just to assure I wouldn’t have any problems with the ‘one’ gear getting up the hill. I did not, and returned for the purchase. George wrote up the order, threw in the usual goodies that come with a new bike and gave me a 10% discount – Thank you George!!
Today I installed my lights and then decided to get to know Earl a bit better, and while doing so, I had a ball riding this bike. I took some tools along, because I wanted to tweak saddle position and after about 10 miles, I knew I had it dialed in.
I went on a ride I have done many times before on April; from home to Manhatten Beach and back. A beautiful 40 mile loop, especially today with outrageously gorgeous weather. The difference was the feel of the ride – “liberating” comes to mind!
The upright riding position, the absence of cycling gear, just shorts, t-shirt, sneakers – cruising along, one gear only, no shifting. This was the most fun I had on a ride in a long time. I probably exhibited a child like behavior, i.e. weaving, whistling, grinning and sometimes racing the geared bikes until I spun out.
OK, now you met Earl, he’ll be a steady commuter companion, farmers market ride, grocery store and coffee run companion. Earl will likely put a couple of more pounds on him over time (fenders, rack, etc) and after a while I am sure will have some battle bruises. But, I am sure he’ll be very low maintenance – ideal for a commuter bike.