I'm Sorry Xtracycle

This is a photo of the Xtracycle after I first built it up last year. It was somewhat shiny and in perfect working order back then. I wish I could say the same today. Unfortunately, it's not the case.

I used to drive a Toyota Tacoma. I loved that truck. It was tough, versatile and useful. I remember loving that fact that it was a truck. Trucks aren't meant to be pretty, in my humble opinion. They're for throwing dirty boots in the bed, crawling in the back to sleep after a long day hiking and for throwing into four-wheel-drive to get through a sticky situation. They're low maintenance and fun. That's exactly what my truck was... and that's exactly what my Xtracycle is now.

I treat that bike like a truck. It gets beat up and bruised without much consideration. It gets me through any situation and is rarely given much love. The other day I walked pass the down trodden bike parked in my garage and glanced down at the chain. I didn't take a picture. It was too embarrassing. I rubbed my hand along the links and saw the reddish brown rust stain my fingers.

I've never let a bike get that bad. The chain is nothing compared to everything else that's wrong with it. It's in desperate need of a tune-up. The shifting is atrocious. I'm seriously running about 75% of my available gearing. The wheels are out of true and the braking is affected.

The question is... Why? If my other bikes get the love they need, why does this one get neglected? I think it's the whole "truck" thing. I think of this thing as my truck. It's tough, versatile and useful. It doesn't ask for much and I don't give it much. For that, I am sorry to my dear friend, the Xtracycle. I promise to give you some love soon. I won't take advantage of you like this ever again.

Get out there.


  1. Hey Derrick,

    Got to your blog from the Xtracycle FB link. Good blog about neglecting your Xtra...mine is in the same state although I think I've lost 90% of my gears. Ironically I also just picked up a single speed for the same reason (no shifting or maintenance of gears). I had been looking at the Redline 925 but got a Kona Paddywagon instead. It's cool to see you and your family are avid cyclists, especially in the cold weather; don't have much snow here in Davis, CA. If you're interested, I have a website that can track the gasoline and dollars your saving. The address is http://www.saveagallon.org/. Have a good one!

  2. I treat mine the same way. And I know exactly what you mean; I've called my Xtracycle my pick-up truck since the day I first assembled it. There's something about having the giant cargo space that makes you throw things in (on?) the bike without regard for weight or space occupied. On other bikes, I'm always thinking about how much extra, unnecessary weight I am carrying. Not so on my truck.

    A couple of pics - http://nicomachus.net/2010/10/my-tow-truck/

    And hello Phil Cox. I'm also zipping around Davis, CA in my Xtracycle.

  3. @ Phil - Great website, man! The Paddy wagon seems like a cool bike. I love the fun quickness of the single speed. It's a blast to ride.

    @ nicomachus - I love having a truck again!

  4. I too came to your blog from the Xtracycle FB post. I've been enjoying poking around, and am now a follower. Reading about how you commute in the freezing cold with snow on the ground motivates me to continue riding even when it's cold here at 38 degrees (yes, ABOVE zero)

    Interestingly enough I live about 20 miles from Davis, in Sacramento, CA.

    ~Monica Laplander

  5. Ha. If you want to see some beater Xtracycles come to Chico CA. We've gotcher delaminated snapdecks, shaggy raggy freeloaders, mud spattered farm bikes, rusty donor bikes and general overloaded, battered, warp-rimmed and stickered.

    Oh sure, there's some guy in town with a clean, BigDummy frame with fresh paint and a Brooks saddle but we don't invite him to parties.

  6. @ Monica - I long for 38 degrees again! Looks like I need to hit up a cycling vacation in Davis!

    @ Pangolin - I've seen pics of where my Xtra is headed. I've seriously considered getting a Big Dummy for my minivan and using the other as my truck. That way, I can keep one a little more classy.

  7. I don't have an xtracycle, but my winter beater bike has fallen into a similar state of disrepair. I ought to do something about it, and maybe I will, soon ...

  8. Our Xtracycle is condemned to live outside chained to a fence and all the other bikes get to stay indoors in the winter. But it is the only bike that can be used to bring both the kid and the trumpet home from band practice. Life is just not fair.

  9. Lol this is so true.
    The Xtracycle is out on the back patio, mainly because it would be a LOT harder to get over the fence to steal. definitely more of that gravity assist , LOL
    Since I depend on it I'm trying to take better care of it. I miss it terribly when something keeps off the road, like forgetting to tighten the clamps until one falls off and has to be replaced online. Sadly, It has to go much longer between tune-ups and check-ups because I hate bieng without it.
    And the bags, well they're a total hot mess, but at least there I have an excuse - I'm waiting for the new blue bags to come into stock!