A Note from Fatty: This is a contest-related post, where you might win some pretty amazing stuff by generously donating to World Bicycle Relief. For an introduction to the contest, click here. For rules, click here. And to donate/enter the contest, click here.
There are a lot of reasons we love bikes. Most of them are obvious (they’re fun, they take us places, they make us strong). I have a theory for what might be a little more obscure — but for me, compelling — reason:
Bikes give us a rare glimpse at — and even access to — perfection.
You can’t say that about most things (and by “things” I’m talking about both activities and objects), because most things are too complicated. But the bike is a simple enough machine that even if we haven’t quite gotten there yet, we can picture a perfect bicycle for a certain kind of riding. We can picture a perfect ride, in a perfect place, on a perfect day.
Bikes let us imagine and come within striking distance of the ideal.
I’ve seen forms of this near-perfection up close, in a variety of ways. And if it’s OK with you, I’d like to tell you about some of them.
Perfect Stuff You Can Win
In my first post about the WBR Grand Slam, I summarized some (but not all, yet!) of the things you might win by entering the contest. What I’m excited about is that many of these prizes are pretty damn-near perfect. I know this because I own versions of a couple of them. Because I loved them so much that I had to own them.
First, there’s this: The Küat NV 2.0 bike rack.
If you have a hitch receiver and you move bicycles with your car sometimes, I cannot recommend this rack any higher than I already do. Why? Because Küat has taken the complicated tasks a bike rack has to accomplish, and made all of them elegantly easy.
- Attaching the rack: If you’ve ever attached a hitch rack and then had it wobble and rattle as you drive, you will love the Küat hitch cam tightener. You insert the rack into your hitch receiver, lock the hitch (included), and then twist the knob at the end of the rack to cam the hitch in incredibly securely. Hitch locked and secure, and ready to be loaded.
- Fold it away: When you’re not using the rack and want it to disappear, you just kick the pedal and fold it, then do the same thing to bring it back down. Takes less than a second to do.
- Work on your bike: The NV 2.0 comes with a work stand (“trail doc” ) built right in, so you can work on your bike.
- Bike locks: the NV 2.0 comes with cable locks built right in for each of your bikes. They tuck away when you’re not using them.
- Front tire cradle is adjustable: Different bikes are of different heights and sometimes they can bump into each other when they’re loaded onto a rack. You can quickly drop or raise the front tire cradle to make sure your bikes fit without banging against each other.
- Front tire ratchet: It is just ridiculously easy to load a bike on a Küat rack. Just plop the bike into place, pivot the front tire ratchet and push it into place. Then fasten the rear tire strap and you’re done. I can generally load four bikes on my original NV in under five minutes. I’m pretty sure I could load them even faster on the 2.0.
And here’s one other feature that I think is worth mentioning: it’s actually a good-looking rack.
I say this not as a person who has been given anything free from Küat — I haven’t. I bought mine from my LBS, and…well, it does its job perfectly.
I’m very stoked to be giving one away as a grand prize in the WBR Grand Slam.
Speaking of perfect things I have that are prizes in the Grand Slam, check this out:
Yeah, it’s a nice-looking case, all custom-branded with WBR-age and everything…but what’s inside?
Yep, it’s the Silca HX-One Tool Set, the one Padraig got all misty-eyed over last January. The thing is, I happen to have this tool set — a Christmas gift I didn’t expect and love all the more for it — and it is glorious. Is it perfect? Yes it is. Beautiful and functional and everything you could ever hope for from hex keys. They fit perfectly. They feel perfect. A little magnet holds the case closed just right.
And someone who donates in the WBR Grand Slam is going to win one.
A Perfect Bike
And now let’s move on from these perfect prizes to the reason we’re making you drool and open your wallets: the Buffalo Bicycle, a custom-designed bike (seriously, if you’re a bike nerd you should read this page) that costs $147 and has evolved over many iterations into what you see here:
A sturdy center stand. Fenders. Coaster brakes (no cables). Single speed (no cables, again!). Burly rack, easily strong enough to seat a second passenger or a day’s-worth of water. Saddle designed to withstand day after day after month after month in direct sunlight.
And that girl in that photo, there — at a bike distribution event I attended in Zambia. You can tell she knows what she’s been given. What it means to her.
After this distribution ceremony, as we rode to meet some of the kids’ parents (and see what their school commute was like), I talked with WBR Founder FK Day about WBR. Excuse the bad camera work — it’s just me, holding a phone. Listen to what he says and what you see around us.
I’ll be showing more perfect things in this contest throughout this month. Chances are, you won’t win any of them. However, you will be guaranteed to have helped a schoolchild get a bike through your generosity.
And in its own way, that’s getting something perfect too.