I thought it would be interesting to post up a picture of my bicycle here. Most of the time a bike is posted on a blog it’s to talk about how fancy it is and all the features and what they cost. Blah blah blog
I’m much more into simple and functional. And cheap. Now that’s not for everyone. If I was older and not able to handle discomfort perhaps I would care that my bike is just a little bit small for me. Or that it only has one gear. If I was riding across the country, instead of across town, I would certainly care about the gear part.
But as it is, I usually ride 5-10 miles and this works just fine for me.
What you are seeing here is a $50 investment in an old frame and adding about $175 in components (and bike shop labor) making the bike a fixed gear bike. I’m a fan of simplicity and fixed gear bikes are that. And cheap. If I were to buy a new fixed gear frame it would cost around $400 just for the frame.
I think a bike like this is a good metaphor for America in a lot of ways. We, as Americans, always feel like technology will be the answer for us. Whatever is next and newer and better is always better. I’m not so sure. James Howard Kunstler talks a lot in the Kunstlercast about the diminishing returns of technology. I think we are squarely in the middle of this. No one needs a bike with 30 different speeds, or carbon fiber or special low resistance wheels. What we need are bikes that are simple, reliable and efficient.
Some technologies do make your life better. As I’m writing this I’m sitting on the back porch using a WIFI connection to “work” while I listen to birds (and not bite my kids’ ears off because they are so loud) and enjoy some peace (not withstanding all the lawn mowers chugging away). The WIFI connection has enabled me to make any room of the house an office instead of one central spot. It has done amazing things for the way I work while in the office as well, and for others. To me, this is a good example of a technology that has an increasing return on my life.
Think about the technology in your life and figure out which ones make your life better, and which ones actual create a drag on your life’s momentum. Do you still need them? Can you jettison them? To me, asking questions like these are the basis of living simply.