One topic I’ve been interested in cataloging about my biking adventures is the ride quality differences between the mixte and the road bike. But as I was riding the Raleigh Pursuit, I started having problems with the rear wheel slipping in the drop-outs and causing the tire to rub the chain stay. Bummer. So the Pursuit sat in a corner, collecting dust for a couple months.
With a move into the city a couple weeks ago, into a tiny studio apartment, I could no longer overlook the Pursuit. I see it no matter my location in the apartment. Staring at me, longing for a ride. But I felt betrayed, let down by the fact that we had had so many great rides, and then when I really needed it, it failed me. But I itched for a different ride. Sure, the mixte has served me well – it’s been a fantastic companion to my daily adventures. We ride everywhere together, I can trust her. But as with most things in my life, I get bored after awhile — longing for a change, something new, refreshed. So this morning I decided to bike in with the Pursuit.
Now, my new commute is much different than the old one. Previously I rode 7 miles from Crystal City, VA into Dupont Circle, DC. There were trails, roads, side walks, hills, flats and never-ending headwinds from the Potomac (don’t miss them!). This new commute has me riding 1.5 miles down hill from Adams Morgan into Dupont Circle on the way in, and about 2 miles up hill going home. It’s short, sweet, filled with people shoaling. It’s a nice ride, mostly, though sometimes it feels too short.
But I digress. The feel. The ride of the Pursuit. When I purchased and built up the Olympian mixte, I had naive notions that it would ride similarly to the Pursuit. They were both from the same year, both lugged steel road bikes of similar proportions, just one had double slopping top tubes and the other a straight top tube. Oh how wrong I was. Getting on the Pursuit this morning awakened that biking fever I caught back in October. It was me, it felt like a part of me. Squirrelly and unsure on it’s legs, but itching to push forward and explore. It was me. It is me.
The tiniest movement sets her in a different direction. She’s a bit slow to stop, but eventually she gives in. (I think I just need to tighten the cables after not riding her so long.) It requires a different set of muscles to keep level and smooth, but when she gets going the biggest grin slips onto my face and I want to ride down the streets like a crazed scofflaw. But riding her this morning took me back to when I first got her and couldn’t stay off. I would go out on the dark streets at 10:30PM to ride around like a maniac, testing my ability, finding my place on the bike and honing my love for riding.
This is not to say that I don’t love the mixte. But I’m realizing they are two completely different styles of bikes despite sharing a maker. And I’m excited to give them two distinct roles in my life.