The Perfect Speed of Riding a Bike

Interview by Lilia Rusterholtz
Photography by Jovian Lim

You don’t need much. A little bit of air. A drop of oil here and there. A spare tyre once in a while. In no time you can ride to the shop to get your groceries, go for lunch at a restaurant two bus stops away or visit a friend who lives a few blocks down the road. No need to worry about an empty gas tank or a full parking lot; no need to wait at a bus stop; and no need to walk until your feet hurt. Just grab your bike and start.

One thing that makes biking so expressive is the fact that you are both the engine and the driver. The way you ride indicates the plans you have, the mood you’re in, or even the way you live. On the way back from a friend’s house after having spent a few hours chatting and laughing, you may want to try a little jump here or turn a few extra curves there. Too early in the morning but already late for a meeting, you’ll sneakily weave your way to the front of all vehicles waiting at the red light, only to dart away when the light finally turns green. And when biking to work after a long night out and a short night’s sleep, you may still sway a little, or pedal a bit more carefully than usual. In any case, only on a bike can you ride in a way that suits your present state of mind.

Getting from one place to another is possible on virtually any kind of bicycle. However, if you plan to bike more regularly, there are some things to consider. Cheap bikes are built using inferior parts and will most definitely require annoying repair work. High quality second hand bikes, on the other hand, can be found at low cost and customised to your personal preferences that will last another lifetime. Classic roadsters are perfect for relaxing rides on flat areas. They emit a friendly vibe and are as suitable for outings in the countryside as they are for the daily commute. More suited for hilly areas are racing bikes, as they are light and come with a number of gears. For use on bad roads or trips to remote places, a mountain bike is a safe choice as its tyres and frame are robust. For couples living a life together, a tandem is a fine solution. It needs a bit of practice though, or you may end up riding a single more quickly than expected. Fixies have enjoyed a rise in popularity lately. They’re nice to look at but are quite tricky to ride as they have neither freewheel nor gears. It is a good choice only if you’re a hipster, a purist, or a retired velodrome racehead.

Read more in N˚4: Flight.