I have a book (actually I have more than one book – I may even have too many books) called ‘101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life‘. Each chapter of this book is (as the title would suggest) an experiment you can perform that may change the way you experience the world. Chapter 88 is “Prowl at Night”. It suggests that you wander around your city at night. To look for things that you don’t see during daylight, and to see things you’re familiar with, in a different way. I think this is an excellent idea, but I think that riding is better.
The other night, it was raining and I had just finished making some significant changes to a bike of mine that has been lying about in the shed for a while. I had an idea that it might be interesting to take this old Bridgestone MB4 mountain bike, fit some really fat, slick tyres (Schwalbe Super Motos) some On-One Midge drop handlebars, a set of bar-end shifters and see what it was like to ride. So I did.
I rode through The Domain and the down to the waterfront.
Now, some people think that fat tyres = slow. But some research has suggested that on a rough surface you’re faster on a more compliant tyre. You’re certainly more comfortable.
I stopped at The Cloud to shelter from the now-torrential rain. I didn’t realise that the “building” is full of lights that change colour. Makes it hard to photograph.
So what’s the Monstertruck MB4 like to ride? Well, I really like it. The tyres do what you would expect – they smooth out the bumps while still feeling fast. I say “feeling fast” – don’t really know though, I’m not a fast rider. I’ve overtaken the odd mobility scooter, but only when it’s battery was running low. Sometime I’ll give the bike a proper test & let you know. The Midge handlebars are nice too – riding with my hands on the brake hoods was comfortable, and since the drops are very shallow, the shifters are never far away.
I know that when it’s wet and cold and dark, you’re supposed to stay home. But can I suggest that you give winter night riding a try sometime? You might see a bunch of things that you’ve never seen before, and the city can be quite beautiful when the lights are reflected off the wet streets. Also, when you get home (wet, cold and tired) you can feel fully justified in having a hot shower & going to bed. Maybe even have a hot-chocolate – you totally deserve it.