UTILITARIAN. TO A FAULT.
This, my fellow cyclists, is the culmination of a bike project that’s lasted for a couple years. It started out as a Handsome Devil. I picked it because it checked a lot of boxes and I liked the name. It’s inexpensive, sturdy, has the geometry of an XO-1, has a utilitarian color scheme and has every single rack and fender eyelet known to man.
I had plans for this thing.
So I built it up as a cross-terrain commuter. Cyclocross tires meant I could ride 20 miles on the road into work and then, after dark when the canyon roads are too risky, I could ride home over the Santa Monica Mountains on the fire roads. It worked perfectly. I lived with her for a while, feeling out what rack configuration I really needed for commuting and the occasional S24O. Rear rack and panniers only? Only a front rack with a boxy Rando bag? Porteur rack or basket up front? After all that, this is the result. The reactions I’ve received out there were not what I expected.
I was almost completely shunned. And I think it’s the basket that’s to blame.
It takes the bike from somewhat stylish and socially (in the bike world) acceptable to pure utility. The second I added that basket, the reactions went from “man, that thing looks like it could go anywhere” to “……….”
On my maiden voyage this weekend – a jaunt through Topanga Canyon – the only positive reaction I got was from a man I can safely assume was homeless. He was on a bike that was laden with bags and racks that all looked handmade. And well-used. His bike was not about style at all but pure function.
This is probably the highest praise I could’ve gotten.
My work is done.
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