What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

float’s limbo

on June 15, 2014

Everyone, please meet Float. Float, everyone (everyone who reads WIST or happens to land here, anyway).

Float at the end of a day's ride outside the high school in Tompson, Georgia

Float at the end of a day’s ride on BRAG 2014 outside the high school in Tompson, Georgia

I’ve struggled to make my mind up about whether to keep or shed Float. For the last two years, he’s been hanging from storage hooks in our garage. “If I’m not going to ride him,” I said, “I should pass him along to someone who will.” “But maybe if he were ride-able,” I countered, “I’d be the one on his admittedly hard saddle.” So it became clear that I needed to make him road-worthy again and take him out for an extended trial. Nevertheless, I delayed.

Perhaps I should back up and say a little more about what kind of bicycle Float is and how we got to this place. He’s a 2005 Novara Trianfo road bike, aluminum with enough carbon fiber parts to dampen road shock (in theory, at least). Straight off the store floor he weighed 19.5 lbs. With a 62 cm frame, he’s freakishly huge, but I have long legs and need him big. A pro wouldn’t race him, but he’s fast enough for an enthusiast like me. We call him “Float” because that’s a good translation of the Italian of his model name and because Nimue enjoys picking him up with one hand.

From 2006 to about 2010, Float and I covered a lot of miles. I rode him on BRAG; I did my first centuries on him. I enjoyed him thoroughly, and though I admired the “better” bikes of others (more and more full-carbon confections), I never suffered bike-envy. No, something else divided my affections: more and different ways to use bikes. Float wasn’t the machine for a trip to the grocery store. He wasn’t practical even for a ride to the coffee shop.

So I disassembled my old steel Schwinn and built it back up as a commuting-and-touring bike. “Slowjourner Truth” began getting more road time than Float. And then, Nimue agreed to try the experiment of acquiring and learning to ride a tandem.

Float took it in stride. He was still game for an occasional fast fling. And we were cornering very, very fast on freshly-laid, oil-slick asphalt two summers ago when we went down hard for a long skid. I got up with a shockingly bloody mess of road rash. His brake-shifters were knocked halfway around his handlebars. I had to carry Float home. A neighbor wanted to call an ambulance. “I’ll heal,” I declined. “My bike needs the medics.”

Well, Muffin the mechanicat and I are the bike-medics around here, and I wasn’t ready to jump in on the job. I don’t think an aversion set in. It’s just that tandeming, touring, and transportation cycling had captured my attention, and there wasn’t much impetus to get Float in the repair stand. His time in limbo stretched into months, then two years.

As the WIST project took hold, though, I began examining anything in my life that I didn’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I still valued Float, but he didn’t fit comfortably in either “keeper” category. “What am I going to do with this bike?” I plaintively asked Nimue. “Ride him on BRAG,” she suggested. “Then maybe you’ll know what to do.”

It was good advice. Just cleaning and lubing Float’s drivetrain lifted a burden of regret from my spirit. The necessary repairs took a fraction of the time I thought they would. (How rarely that happens in my life!) When I took him out for a test ride, I could feel him smirk, “Hills? that tandem calls these little lumps hills?”

He was great on Monday and Tuesday of BRAG (oh, we had a tire issue, but tires are just shoes—something he wears, not part of who he is). His saddle is still a plank. He’s twitchy and stiff. On any surface but silk sheets he can make my teeth rattle like dice in a backgammon cup.  But he’ll go up a hill like gravity doesn’t apply. He’s a fun bike to ride. I just have to figure out where and when to do it.

shedding style: repair
destination: smooth, long roads

Comments welcome … do you have anything in your life that wants out of limbo?


5 responses to “float’s limbo

  1. Mark says:

    Glad to have you back–I’ve missed you in my “Blogs I Follow” news feed!

  2. Anne Lene says:

    Yes, my bike too, wants out of limbo, and I just decided to give him a spit and a shine, first coming weekend ;-)

    • revdarkwater says:

      Tell me/us about your ride when it happens, please!

      • Anne Lene says:

        Hey, I only promised a shine up, not a ride!!! ;-) kidding aside, intention is to clean it up and start using it for small trips in the area. I need the exercise and the bike needs to either get used or go “out-the-door”, right now it’s just occupying space in a very cramped storage space! It’s use it or loose it! I’d hate to “loose” it so I better start use it;-)

  3. […] many years his “Fuji Steed” had been his only bicycle. Then he got a racing bike. He kept the Fuji, though, to ride to the store or on days when he didn’t want to bother with […]

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