June 8, 2010 by Natalie
Last week I tweeted a photo of a customized Little Black Dress. It was a gorgeous bike – such a deep red it looked fast even at a dead stop. And a few minutes later (such is the way of the internet), I got back a mixed review:
“Everything about that bike is foxy. Except the pedals. It’s like house slippers paired with a little black dress.”
Two things of note:
Yes, those pedals did not belong on that bike. At the time I conceded, explaining that I threw the pedals on so I could give the rig a test ride.
But no. Flat pedals are not house slippers. They are not a frumpy stand-in for something more appealing. Flat pedals are more like flip flops. More intention than substance. They are the easy ambivalence of summer, like an open patio door or a two week vacation. They invite you to come and go as you please and take your time doing it.
I’ve been riding flat pedals on my fixie for a couple of months now and it has changed my relationship with that bike. I am on and off like its no big deal, no real commitment. I’m riding and then I am not. I roll out to a coffee meeting with a customer. I cruise to the store in sneakers and rolled up pants. I even rode to a bike advocacy fundraiser in high heels and a dress.
Flat pedals nudge you in the right direction. They tell you to slow down, to enjoy the relaxation, to soak in the summer. They might not look fast, but these are the months when you want it to last.