Freedom, fit, road feel, miles covered, inspiration, dependability. Quite how two triangles, welded together and strapped to a pair of gyroscopes, become a machine of such majestic grace is beyond my powers of calculation. There are hints of the alchemical. The Star Trek transport has nothing on the bicycle. Beam me up, Fat Chance!
I find it interesting that only a few writers picked a carbon fiber bicycle as their all-time favorite. Other factors than frame material seemed to be at the top of the list for picking a favorite, though, perhaps by coincidence or perhaps as a simple matter of timing, a lot of loved steel bikes best. For many of us, where the machine took us was as important as what the machine looked like or what components it had hung on it.
When George brought up department store bikes, a cord struck somewhere deep within me. I inherited a Panasonic Villager from my brother when I was a teenager. It was too big for me, but I humped it around town anyway. That bike took me to visit girlfriends where I discovered things that have little to do with cycling, but everything to do with joy.
Padraig and Dan O brought up Fat Chance and the bikes they made, here in my hometown. For a Bostonian that chain of Fat Chance to Independent Fabrication provokes nothing but velocipedic pride, our contribution to legend of American bike making.
Many of us have a lot of bikes hanging in our garages/basements/barns/living rooms. Picking a favorite is hard. In many ways, my next bike is always my favorite. Better start saving my pennies.
Image courtesy the Mombat Museum