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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Evolution Of A Platypus – Bike Snob NYC


After two weeks of largely highway using, this previous weekend I returned to the beguiling dust trails of suburbia:

To city and rural varieties alike these environs could appear tame, however make no mistake–you by no means know if you might need a pulse-pounding wildlife encounter:

I might virtually really feel its sizzling breath and odor its flatulence. Or vice-versa.

Sure, I could also be a civilized type, what with my indoor plumbing and wi-fi Web connection and entry to a number of TV streaming providers, however as quickly as I enter the wild all my senses come alive and I revert to an virtually animal-like state. I’m additionally an skilled tracker. For instance, I do know this was left by a gravelista working precisely 36psi and a left cleat that must be adjusted inboard by two precisely levels:

Whereas this was left by an grownup male, 6’3″, using a light-weight blue woman’s Mongoose mountain bike, dimension small, with each entrance and rear v-brakes unhooked:

And I didn’t even need to style the dust to determine that out:

Although I admit I did odor it for awhile.

After all one can not courageous such circumstances on simply any bicycle. (The man on the Goal bike with the unhooked v-brakes however.) No, to undertake such a journey I have to be capable of belief my bike with nothing lower than my very life. Furthermore, it have to be each succesful and cozy, in a position to traverse each pavement and naked earth with equal aplomb, and ideally have a kickstand for once I have to cease and go pee. My Platypus is such a bicycle.

Have you ever ever ridden a motorcycle and famous the way it evokes your undergraduate days of studying about Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious?

Me neither.

Nonetheless, I do keep in mind Could 2021 prefer it was solely two years and 4 months in the past, and that’s once I first bought the ‘Pus. Some bikes spring totally grown from the top of Zeus. For instance, whereas I did briefly Riv-ify it for reasonable thrills, my Jones is just about precisely as I acquired it:

It’s because the Jones is designed round sure elements (the bars, the plus-sized tires), and so there’s actually no level to getting all funky with it. The identical factor kinda goes for highway bikes:

We every have our saddle and pedal preferences, and we could like one barely totally different handlebar bend than one other, however in the end a highway bike is a highway bike, and so they’re just about all the identical when it comes to general setup…nicely, largely:

However some bikes can inherently be arrange a lot of alternative ways; furthermore, it may take time to determine simply what they wish to be. (Or what you need them to be. They don’t wish to be something. They’re simply bikes.) The Platypus is like that. Trying on the body, you might see it as an on a regular basis bike with fenders and baskets for commuting and working errands, or with fatter tires and luggage for mixed-terrain rambling, and even lean and “imply” (or as imply as a Rivendell might be) as form of a genteel upright speedster. What attracted me to it was the entire “mixte” (or a minimum of mixte-adjacent) factor, and my crotch and I had reached the purpose the place I used to be able to discover the thrilling new world of beneficiant prime tube clearance. Moreover, with my children now in a position to journey their very own bikes I not wanted the brute child-hauling functionality of the WorkCycles, which I handed alongside to a pal–and which, now that I consider it, had taught me to understand the virtues of a step-thru body within the first place:

So the Platypus appeared like one thing that may be good for WorkCycles-type stuff like errands, household picnics, and so forth, but additionally the form of bike I’d truly wish to simply journey for a number of hours on my own in a leisure, sporting style–and as completely phenomenal because the WorkCycles is at what it does, you actually don’t wish to simply journey it for a number of hours in a leisure, sporting style. You actually don’t.

Then there was the truth that my spouse had moved from a WorkCycles to a Clem Smith, Jr. for a similar purpose the earlier fall, which made me desire a bike like that too:

Past that although I wasn’t positive precisely set it up past a obscure notion that it ought to be capable of carry stuff whereas additionally being enjoyable, and whereas I did order some key elements together with it I additionally form of let it evolve and stuffed within the blanks with stuff from my huge shops of mediocre elements:

Right here’s the way it seemed when it first got here collectively:

Some bikes journey simply the best way they give the impression of being, and whereas the Platypus is actually comfy, I shortly discovered it’s additionally full of life in a means you may not count on from the upright place in addition to all these lugs and tubes. I knew I needed a basket on it, and after using it “bare” for a bit simply to get to realize it I put in one:

Nonetheless, owing to that sudden liveiliness, for awhile I had the notion that other than the basket I’d preserve it form of minimal. That didn’t final:

The entire level of a cushty bike is that they’re, nicely, comfy. You’ll be able to’t get comfy in the event you can’t loosen up. And you’ll’t loosen up in the event you don’t have every little thing you want on you always–instruments, tubes, patches, that form of factor–and so I added the voluminous saddle bag, which I’d beforehand been utilizing on the Homer. Equally, I additionally discovered I might loosen up extra on trails with extra tire quantity, and it turned out I might match a set of ’29er tires in there no downside. In flip, I additionally discovered that, whereas it’s on no account a mountain bike, it’s additionally prepared to go deeper into the woods than you may suppose. Switching the bar-end shifters for thumbies, placing on bigger pedals, and including a second set of grips for cranking up steep rises additional enhanced its all-terrain rideability:

Round this time I additionally lowered the bars from the Rivendell-approved “lofty” place you see in all of the above pictures to a positively reckless “roughly degree with the saddle.” As a result of I prefer to stay dangerously.

A nicer rack for the voluminous saddle bag adopted:

As did a interval throughout which I switched the Tosco bar for a Choco, which felt nice on the highway:

Although I in the end went again to the Tosco, and general I believe it’s a greater match for the bike–or a minimum of how I journey it.

So whereas I’ve liked the Platypus from the start, it occurred to me this weekend that I’ve lastly bought the bike precisely how I need it:

Now all I’ve to do is keep in mind to cease fucking with it.

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