Journal Entry #11: An embarrassing, yet educational, life experience OR why brake hoods are cool.
Ok, so this story is embarrassing as fuck, but I realized — as I was telling it to my friend who had a similar mindset — that it could help other people. So why not share it with the whole Internet?
So y’all can understand where I come from, cyclingwise, without reading through all my past articles, here’s the gist: I’ve always ridden bikes for their functionality. Function over fashion was my motto.
Back when I lived in the suburbs, I was riding a hard tail mountain-hybrid-whatever bike. It could get me to school nicely, but I could also ride it around trails or wherever I wanted. Then, when I moved to Montreal, I got myself a secondhand recycled bike. It was kind of heavy, but very sturdy and with its many racks it allowed me to carry a ton of shit to school, which is a must when you’re an art student.
Then I got my first fixed gear, which I loved dearly. It had belonged to a friend before and it was a super old step-through bike conversion. Not the best setup, but fully functional. The fork eventually broke and I decided it was time to get a proper bike.
And by proper bike, I mean I succumbed to the fixie craze and I got myself a cheap, mass produced, fixed gear from an online retailer. I soon realized all the parts where garbage quality — I literally had to replace every part except the frame set and the bb — and that besides looking pretty, this bike was not practical for riding in the city, blame it, in part, on the pista drop bars that came with the bike (oh, and on it falling apart).
I never rode brakeless, because I’m way too much of a wuss for that, but I hated really hard on rear brakes. Why? Because they looked uncool. Yes, I was that person at some point in my life. I’m sorry.
All this to say that I thought brake hoods where aberrations and I had made my mind that I would never have those on my bikes. #FixieForLife. (Sorry again).
This is the really embarrassing part, just to drive the nail in: Eric and I once got into an argument about getting me hoods for my CX single speed and I was like “NO NEVER. I’m a strong woman, I will do what I want. I don’t need your male opinion”. Then I cried. I was probably PMSing. Also, I can be quite the drama queen.
So yeah, I cried not to have brake hoods, ‘cause I found them ugly.
Then I came back to my senses: Your bike has to be practical, before looking pretty or cool.
Maybe this stupidly long and cold winter, and biking through it, made me come back to my senses, because as spring came around I was like “Damn, I need some hoods on my bike”.
Just like that. Like a child who suddenly realizes he can walk, I realized that putting brake levers with hoods on my compact drops bars was the logical thing to do.
My fixed gear bike has two brakes. So what?
I still love how my bike looks plus no more knee pains. Let’s call that a win-win situation.
Moral of the story: Stop thinking your bike has to look cool. Your bike has to fit you, be comfortable, and practical.
If you choose a bike solely because of its appearance, you’ll end up not being comfortable while riding it. Which will result either in you not riding it, or still riding it but getting knee/back/neck/wrist pains that could fuck you up in the long run.
So yeah, don’t be a stubborn crybaby like I was.