The Right Tool for the Job

It’s a poorly-kept secret of American manhood that things that need fixed around the house are really excuses to buy new tools. Being well into my second decade of homeownership, I’ve got tools to repair screen doors, remove roofing shingles and sharpen shovel blades. I’ve got all the equipment to install laminate flooring and properly align electrical outlets. Dremel, reciprocating saw, power washer, leaf blower? Check. I even have a hand-operated drain snake that I picked up way back when I lived in a San Francisco apartment with a perpetually backed-up shower.

So yes – I like to do my own odd jobs around the house, and I like having the right tools with which to do them. The latest? A mini welding rig I acquired in order to fix the 76 year old latch on my back door, the internal workings of which finally snapped after years of hard use. It’s satisfying to get something back up and running. And it’s doubly satisfying to play with fire while doing it.

On the cycling front, however, I feel like I’m not as tooled up as I need to be. No, not cycling tools; lord knows I’ve got plenty of those. What I’m missing is a bike to ride to work when I need to wear a suit. I’ve been dealing with these days by the handyman’s equivalent of dialing for help or using improvised tools: I take the bus, or ride my fixed-gear bike. But much as I like ending my work day with a brisk singlespeed ride up and over Capitol Hill, it’s uncomfortable to do so in a suit.

Thus, like any other tool-shopping guy, I’ve lately started turning my eyes toward bikes with gears and an upright riding posture. Internal hub will be a must; I’m sure a 5 speed will be more than adequate. Probably not Dutch, given the weight, but those bikes from the Netherlands certainly fit the bill otherwise. In any event suggestions welcome, and please bear with me on this minor diversion from all things single speed.