Form versus function is a matter of personal preference, attitude and lifestyle. Some people are more concerned with the outer appearance and design, some couldn’t care less.
It is not a competition and there is no way to say who is better, wiser and more true.
Since you are reading this article, let me suppose, that you are lucky enough to live in a world of freedom that is full of choices and options. Selecting may seem hard at times, but the plain fact of having the right to choose is our greatest fortune.
We are presented with options since early childhood. Once we learn to reach and crawl we start to explore and learn. I believe that it is our intelligence that plays an important role in the process of decision-making. The more we get to know about the world and more importantly about ourselves, the easier it becomes.
DON’T BLAME IT ON THE DNA
Indecisiveness is not a quality imprinted in our DNA. Although it may run in the family, it is a matter of discipline and patience to get it under control. Not every love-at-first-sight relationship lasts a lifetime and it is ok to make mistakes and bad decisions. I once heard somewhere that every decision you make, even a bad one, is great because it is yours. Growing up in communism, where choice was a missing commodity, I am grateful to have it and value it above all else.
Of course there are situations when I wished I had no choice. These mostly arise from simple vanity and inability to decide or even worse from wanting it all. I am sure you know what I am talking about. You finally find the right backpack with exactly the right amount of pockets, smart material and water proof zippers and OMG! there are 7 amazing colors to choose from. You narrow it down to two favorites and end up leaving the perfect bag unpurchased because you couldn’t decide on the color. You know that if you got the ocean blue, you’d long for the earthly green and vice versa. Unless you wake up in the morning knowing exactly which is the right color for you and the bag is still available, you are stuck in my “figure it out the hard way” box.
I decided to get a bike three years ago. I could see myself riding a fixie looking cool, hip and smooth. Without knowing a thing about how hard it is to be “brake-less” half way down a cobble stone hill, I dreamed of an elegant slim frame with aerospoke wheels or at least one and that’s where the journey started.
I humbly admitted that I am too old, too comfortable and too proud to hurt myself while attempting to ride a fixie and that a single speed would be enough of a challenge as I live in a city where climbing up a hill and going down a mountain is quite common.
Single speed is the perfect no choice instrument. No gears, no complains. If you can’t push into the pedals anymore, push the bike up the hill and maybe next time you will be make it or you will find an alternate route.
NEED FOR GEARS
The more I rode out of the city, the more I knew I needed gears or a second frame for a road bike. I didn’t want either, I loved the lightness of the frame that only had a belt on 2 chainrings and looked amazing and I didn’t want to start a collection of bikes. People do that, I prefer one for all.
SAFE AND SOUND
I have a thing for slim wheels. I find them attractive, yet I consider walking when it rains. Fat tires are my visual nightmare. I’d rather ride scared on cobble stones than accept the safety of a thicker tire. At least I did, until I discovered the beauty of single trek and the pain of sliding on a tram track and accepted the bigger tires as a fact.
To sum it up. I used to sacrifice function to form and spend winter days underdressed and freezing but very stylish, which reminds me of the days when I would snowboard in a white jacket and white pants until a friend asked me whether I really believed it was the best choice considering the ever white background where people can’t see me. Duh!
I still love to look at slimline bikes with slender wheels and day dream. Being a happy dreamer I can accept the fact that my bike is perfect, because it feels right and suits the path I walk on.
I’d like to add that having your figure measured and your bike position adjusted accordingly is the best way to start riding in style and comfort. After all it is not the bike alone that rides. It is your foot that strikes the pedal. Movement freed from obstacles lets you flow into harmony with your bike and could take you away from all the artificial nonsense. Once you are mature enough to pick the function, the form will naturally follow. When you know what you want, you get it, accept it and move on to a new adventure.