The wheels of steel
One of my unguilty pleasures in the last two months has been the move to cycling to work. My estimation that the DEM office was the same distance from my house as Dell was slightly off, and a 30 minute walk in the Taipei morning heat is not an awful lot of fun.
It didn’t take too much persuasion from ‘New Yorker in Taipei’ Nick to persuade me to part with 3500 NT$ (about 60 quid) for a brand new fixed gear bike. Yes, it’s a bit of a clunker and needs tightening weekly. Yes 60 quid means it must be very dodgy. But who cares? There is a certain nobility in riding a bike that costs about the same as my seat post on my mountain bike … and if it’s raining? I just leave it outside and don’t worry about it too much.
The fixed gearing without freewheel means I don’t need a brake on the back, and instead braking is now harder work than accelerating. Sounds stupid, eh, but it makes for a wonderfully involved ride, judging the traffic, maintaining momentum, staying smooth and in general staying out of trouble. Taipei is Taipei, so I did pussy out and stick a brake on the front – sorry Nick and the courier purists, but I don’t want to die.
It’s a trend from the streets of NY, London and Berlin that I am happy to import here, but I hope, or at least expect they will not be as popular as the folding bike craze sweeping the island at the moment.