Plastic Fantastic

The vast majority of the riding I’ve done for the last three years has been on my Black Avenue (there’s a picture here.) It’s a great bike, but it’s a single speed, and although single-speeds are increasingly popular and surprisingly practical in a flat city like Copenhagen, they’re not ideal for serious riding. Plus they’re hard on the knees.

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And so I’ve added a new bike to my small collection. It’s the fastest bike I’ve ever owned by far, and my first two rides confirm that I was indeed limited by my old bike. My average speed is up noticably and my knees hurt less. This bike just flies.

It’s a Focus Cayo. Focus is a German company that has done very well in the last few years, making bikes that both get excellent reviews and provide good value for the money. This model is a 2008, so it was on sale as well.

I didn’t set out to get one, but it has a carbon fiber frame, meaning basically that it’s not made out of metal. You don’t really notice that (except that it’s very light) until you tap your fingernail on the frame. The plastic sound it makes is really sort of disturbing. It sounds like something that would shatter if you hit a bump, but… apparently not.

I have mixed feelings about buying a bike like this.

When I was a kid this kind of bike (a “10-speed”) was extremely boring and… well, almost useless. We lived in the country, and mountain bikes had just started to be mass-produced. Why restrict yourself to the streets when so much of the world isn’t paved? Naturally I see things differently now that I’m living in a huge city with thousands of miles of paved bike lanes and virtually no dirt roads.

But I also have a problem with people that ride these types of bikes in general. They always seem to be jerks. It’s not clear to me if riding a racing bike makes you a jerk or if only jerks buy racing bikes, but it never seems to fail. So now I have to wait and see. Either I’ll turn into a jerk now that I have a bike like this, or it’ll become clear that I’ve been a jerk all along but was in denial about it. (Or it’ll become clear that this type of bike isn’t suited for me and I’ll have to sell it.)

But for now I’m extremely pleased. It’s a blast to ride, and now I can keep up with (or beat) all the jerks that used to sail past me on my single speed. Jerks.

2 Thoughts on “Plastic Fantastic

  1. When you and your brothers were babies and you’d fall down, we’d holler, “Cayo,” which is a Spanish word for “he fell down.” Any chance that the naming of your Focus Cayo may be based on experience in which the designers of the bike went tumbling?

    Good luck whipping all those jerks. Jerks.

  2. Ha! Yes I thought about “Cayo!” before buying. I must have fallen down a LOT as a kid because I can still hear you saying it.

    But it seems that I have a knack for bikes with bad names. My first real mountain bike was a “Bravado” which, as you pointed out at the time, means the appearance of bravery but implies a complete lack. They might as well have named it “Coward”.

    Later I bought bikes called “Big Sur” and “Dolphin”. I think water-based names are silly for bikes.

    I have another bike called an “Avenue Airbase”, and find this combination… confusing, especially since Avenue is the make. If it were “Airbase Avenue” it would still be weird, but at least one can imagine it. But an airbase on an avenue — that’s just nonsensical.

    But apparently people don’t normally think about make and model names much. I was surprised when a comedian pointed out that “Dodge Ram” is a contradiction. I’d heard the combination hundreds of times but that would have never occurred to me.

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