Written by: Michael Baker – President of Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition
Chatted with Wyatt the other day at the Pearl Street Brewery when I stopped for Free Wheeling Wednesday (get a free pint of your favorite PSB for riding your bike there). He asked if I could do a post for his blog. Sure, I like writing about anything involving bikes. I’ll start by describing my Wyatt.
I own a Street King Northbound, modified a bit…I love riding town on this bike. It did the Tour de Pearl several times including being the first to finish the ‘Tour’ in Madison. I run it fixed (approx 72″), short bull horns, clipless and no brakes. It has a pint glass holder as one of two accesories (the other is a bell). It rolls fast and is a blast to ride in traffic. I never recommend to anyone to emulate me. It requires full attention braking only via skid stop. Not a relaxing ride, full on adrenalin riding. I have other bikes for cruising. The Wyatt is tight and solid. No rattles in my bike. The steel frame is smooth and responsive, it gives me confidence to ride it like I do. The powder coating is tough and eye catching. Hard to miss me riding down the street or parked in front of my favorite haunts. I love riding past other people who have Wyatt’s saying ‘nice bike’, seeing them smile and notice I’m on one too. Maybe we could get Wyatt to do a ‘Wyatt owners ride’ so we could all come together and show off our cool bikes.
I originally used my Northbound through the winter, but love it too much to run it on the salty streets. I plan to get one of his new Fat tire bikes for next winter. Riding year round doesn’t require the capabilities of the new Fat tire bikes, but riding is pretty limited when the snow starts to pile up. I found myself riding few miles because of the difficulty of just getting through. La Crosse has lots of good places to ride when everything freezes over. The backwaters and marsh are great open areas and a fat tire group packed trails through them and rode all winter. That’s my plan for this next winter, new Wyatt Fat tire bike and lots more miles. Think I’ll copy the Street King, it’ll make people do a double take…
So now that I have shamelessly plugged Wyatt’s bikes, onto my real passion. Anything that gets more people on bikes more often. I find myself talking with people about riding quite a lot. My best reasons for riding are in summary: I save about $10,000 a year not having a car; I feel great when I arrive at my destination; I don’t worry much about my diet; I have a great conversation starter. My bike.
The last one is the one most people don’t consider much. Having something to talk about is the hardest part of a conversation, bikes work great for that. Ride into a town where you don’t know anyone. People have a natural tendency to say hi when you ride up on a bike. ‘Where you coming from?’, ‘Where ya headed?’, ‘How far do you ride?’, are among the normal questions. Easy answers: ‘Well, I’m riding to here. Looks like a great place. Tell me about your town.’ Probably the best first answer you can use.
I, like anyone, like having extra money in my pocket. $10 grand buys lots of good beer and bike goodies. Smiling when I arrive somewhere is contagious to those who are at the receiving end and I love to eat good food.
I am sure Wyatt wasn’t expecting this many words, so, in conclusion, ride a bike, as often as possible, while thinking of more time when you could ride. It leads to good times and a happier life.