Tonight I got a chance to try out my new bike. See 42: A bike for the Coast to Coast which explains how I ended up with a Giant Yukon FX2. After quickly fitting lights I took it in the back of the car (one of the nice things about a Citroen C8 is that even with 5 seats in a bike just fits nicely in the back, much easier and more secure than a boot or roof carrier) when I took oldest son to Concert Band rehearsal in Northampton.
So I got to spend 3 hours blasting around Northampton (well apart from a while in Pizza Hut having some sustenance.
First impressions are that full suspension is not needed in an urban environment (well what a surprise) and that I need to fit less knobbly tyres for use on the road (again no surprise). However, there is a sense of security that comes from riding something that does not care at all about potholes with an upright riding position and wide handlebars. I guess it is the cycling equivalent of driving a SUV. Just looking at the width of the front tyre as you go along is a amazing for someone who has been riding road bikes. It makes you feel that you have more road presence.
One other thing that I liked was the way the high handlebars meant that my (very powerful) front lights go straight into most cars. So I can aim bright (2 halogen headlights from Lumicycle) lights at either wing mirror or light up their dashboard fro them. Makes me more confident that they are going to notice me.
As a comparison I was riding my fixie in Cambridge today. For that it is lovely as it is such a quick and nimble bike even when you are in no hurry and are just tootling along.
One of the many things I love about my fixie is the way it works in stealth mode. With a fixed gear and slick tyres it is almost silent, no clicks, clangs, bangs or any other mechanical noise (and that is on a bike that gets almost zero maintenance).
I have made a few changes to my fixie from this picture. First adding mudguards and a rack which make it more practical. Secondly, I swapped the handlebars for a "courier" style.
That also meant changing to a shorter stem for comfort. I find these really comfortable as the drop was a bit low for me.
But when riding the fixie you are very aware of the quality of the road surface. It has nice wheels and 25mm high pressure tyres (largest that I can fit mudguards around) which mean you do notice terrible road surfaces a lot and need to avoid the worst bits.