Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Simple Life: Track Cycling

One of the beauties of baseball is it is fairly simple. A glove, a bat, a ball and one can't forget the hat. When I put my hand in a glove as a child it felt as though the two of us were one. The glove is so simple, a piece of raw leather cut a certain way and stitched up. The issue with cycling is that it is the anti-simple in the modern era. 

The bike most people know has two wheels, a frame and from there it gets more complicated. Two derailleurs (the part that shifts the bike), all the brake parts, the four cables and the list continues. When one learns to maintain all of these together to create a working bike it is very fulfilling. It's all like using an insulin pump for diabetes, when it works, it's great. When the parts don't work together, it is less than great.

I've started to take a track cycling class every Wednesday evening at the San Diego Velodrome. What's different about the velodrome; the bike is a fixed single gear with no brakes. All go, no show. The first time I stepped on a track bike it felt like putting on that baseball glove. Simple. Peddle the bike, it moves forward; stop peddling, the bike stops (quickly). The track bike is like multiple daily injections compared to the insulin pump. The user knows what they get, not all these other parts that are going to break.

This is something different but still the bike, simplified. The track class is a good learning experience, learning how to ride the bike better and differently.