Clarification and Ramblings
When I posted, last week, about enjoying the commute on my fixed gear, sans rack and bags, I got a comment from Rantwick that read, in part, "Backpacks! Bah! I weep at the thought of any commuter bicycle being stripped of its rack and fenders; poor thing. ;)"
I suspect that was in response to my plan to "decommission" the vintage-style fixed gear and run it "Scorcher-style".
Now, I agree fully with our neighbor to the north about "naked" commuter bikes. I think it makes so much more sense to set them up as a beast of burden, so that the bike takes the day-to-day beating of carrying whatever load it is that you transport back and forth, rather than having that load bearing on your body. I have absolutely no plans to strip down the Red Menace II. In fact, I will be adding fenders to it, at some point, in order to make it a more capable commuter bike.
But, in that last sentence, lies the thesis of this little essay. The RM II is a "commuter bike", and is set up to be the most efficient that I can make it for the task. The fixed gear MTB, and the vintage-styled fixed gear are both just sportabouts, on which I will occasionally commute (just as I will occasionally take a casual ride on the commuter, with all of the extra equipment still intact). The difference is that they are more efficient for their main purpose (fun rides, and off-road adventures) without the rack, bags and other equipment that purpose-built commuters demand.
So, in essence, this isn't a case of a commuter bike being stripped. It is more a case of a commuter bike being repurposed into a recreational bike.
Splitting hairs, I suppose...
I rode the fixed-gear MTB to work on both Wednesday and Thursday, this past week. I didn't have a lot of stuff to carry back and forth, so I wasn't worried about the backpack (hardly even noticed it, as a matter of fact). Thursday's ride home was pretty sweet, with temps in the upper 20s, and a wet snow coming down. Add in the tailwind I enjoyed on the way home, and the ride was almost perfect, as wintertime commutes go.
I will probably ride the red bike in, Monday. I am working the holiday so that I can take Friday off to work one of Funk's booths at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. If you come to the show, stop by and say hello!