Every curator ends up with a piece of art in their museum that leaves patrons scratching their heads and wondering how exactly it arrived within those hallowed halls. Every box of Raisinettes has that one last piece crushed and somehow melted to the side of the box (I mean, I’m guessing. What sort of satan worshipper would buy Raisinettes?). This is all a long way of saying that every collection of bicycles has one in it that seemed like a good idea at the time, but yeah, maybe, in retrospect, not so much.
If you look at my bike rack, and evaluate it slot by slot, you’d find an eBike for errand running, a hardtail 29er that is my go-to mountain bike, an entirely too aggressive gravel bike, an elegant and fast road bike, my wife’s steel roadie, a fixie I use for errands when I don’t mind pedaling so much, my youngest son’s hybrid, and then wedged up against the wall, where it may have some cobwebs collecting betwixt bars and frame, a 650b, single-speed mountain bike.
This bike, when I look at it, takes me back to a pretty specific moment in time. 27.5″ wheels (650b) were hot on the scene, the fast, agile halfway point between 26″ and 29″. The perfect answer for riders who weren’t sure they wanted to go all the way. And single-speed. One-speed. Some brute simplicity. A purer way to ride a bike. Quite how I bought all those storylines simultaneously is anyone’s guess, and look, if we’re honest about bikes, even weird ones, they’re ALL better than a kick in the shins.
I rode this bike happily for two seasons, at which point I got tired of spinning out on the road transitions between trail systems. I got sick of grinding my legs to sawdust on long climbs. The scales of justice tipped, and I moved on to a proper 29er, with gears and everything, just like a real human boy.
This week’s TCIF asks, what’s the weirdest, nichest, least useful bike you own? Extra points if it’s a unicycle with a basket.