Feeling a touch of the midlife crisis

Once again, we have assembled our crack team of bicycle mechanics (you may recall them from the Xtracycle installation) …

Kids help build up a fixie… to engage in a top-secret, experimental, government-funded project in which Eugene Bicyclist transforms himself into …

Mr. Johnny-Come-Lately 46-Year-Old Dude Trying to Be Cool

As with many government projects, this one is woefully underfunded and probably hopeless. But we managed best we could. And given the anger we are seeing in the land regarding the spending of public moneys on unnecessary luxuries — such as teaching children to read, for instance — we want to practice full transparency.

You, patriotic taxpaying citizen, deserve to know what’s going on. So here is our top-secret project (as much as we can show you, anyway¹) assembled with the utmost frugality:

Oh my God. Eugene Bicyclist has built a fixie. I know, I know. Eugene Bicyclist building a fixie at this point is like your great-Aunt Tilly calling to tell you she has just now discovered this fascinating thing called Facebook.²

Why did I do it? That’s a good question. Perhaps I felt a need to understand the fixie better, as I have written about it in the past, probably poorly. Perhaps I couldn’t resist the gravitational pull of its coolness. Perhaps it just looked fun.

Another possibility, which I mentioned to Sharrow one day, is that maybe this fixie is the manifestation of a midlife crisis. This caused her to raise her lovely eyebrows.

“Are you having a midlife crisis?” she asked.

“Well, no,” I said, scratching the beard I’ve been trying to grow. “But if I was, you know, a fixie would be good. But I don’t think I am, actually.”

But if I was, I think this would be relatively tame and inexpensive as midlife crises go.

Consider the alternatives:

  • Candy-apple red 1965 Mustang (nah, too much maintenance)
  • Scary-fast Japanese motorcycle (too much maintenance)
  • Hot 22-year-old woman, the kind who would run off with a 46-year-old dude (way too much maintenance, possibly dangerous)

After riding the fixie around for a couple of weeks, I have suffered only the following consequences:

  • Quadriceps sore in unusual ways.
  • Feeling clumsy and foolish stopping and starting, but nevertheless feeling suddenly superior to freewheeling cyclists.
  • Humbly realizing that skidding the rear wheel on a fixed-gear bike is not as easy as it looks.
  • My regular bike — looking sad, lonely and jilted as it sits gathering dust — will no longer speak to me.

— — —


1 Carefully redacted from the video is the still classified information concerning whether this bike has a brake — which may have some effect on the final, revised budget numbers.

2 If you’ve had a fixed-gear bike for a while, reading this post ought to make you feel like the guy in this sketch from the TV show “Portlandia.” Funny.

(If you watch closely, during the fixie portion of this skit, you see that he actually coasts up — so of course, he’s not riding a fixed-gear bike at all. Maybe that’s part of the joke.)

6 thoughts on “Feeling a touch of the midlife crisis

    1. Toe clips added a little bit later.

      I’ll be in touch!

      By the way, I received no payment for that Ninkasi product placement. Wouldn’t refuse it if they slipped a six-pack under my door, though.

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