St. Louis isn't particularly hilly, but it does have some Hills (with a capital "H"). The Speciale Fixed make of Masi is more of a track bike, with the track geometry and spec. It came with a 48T front chainring and a 16T rear cog. That's OK for spinning around the park, but in traffic the gearing is a little steep. There have been times when I needed to Get On It, and even as strong as I've become with the bike, I can't move it fast enough in certain situations to feel safe (and not prevent knee surgery, anyway). It was time to talk to the mechanics at LBS.
LBS employs a few singlespeed affectionados, and we had a lot to talk about. In the end we decided that a 46T chainring would do the trick. They had a few in stock and set about making the swap. A few minutes into the work the mechanic discovered something: the Touro crank will only accept the 48T chainring that comes with it (something about the bevel). This was confirmed by looking through the SRAM catalog, and surfing out to the SRAM site. Of course the Touro doesn't even appear on the SRAM site any more. I surfed a little more and found this post confirming what we already knew. By that time, the mechanics had already suggested the same work-around and swapped the 16T freewheel for a 18T.
Now a new problem: the Masi also comes with some off-brand of chain. Since LBS didn't have the proper links in stock to lengthen my existing chain, I was forced to buy a new one. So, Masiguy: why the Touro crank?
In the end I'm rolling phat. That is to say, toodling with a little more confidence. It cost me a bit more than I expected, but I have just the right amount of Go (<-- is that the right way to say that?) in traffic.
One of the things I love about the Masi is the jump-on-and-go platform pedals, but the shoes I normally wear to ride, lets say I'd be better off bare-footed. I tend to pad around in these. They're comfortable and warm, especially in the winter, but the sole is really floppy. I decided I'd made-do long enough and wanted to replace them with stiffer-soled commuter shoes. Unfortunately, LBS didn't have any in my size, so I was forced to shop around. In the end I found these at Mesa Cycles. They're a bit flashier than I wanted, but they're really comfortable, warm, and feel great on platform pedals. Not to mention that I can wear them in the house and not be threatened with a horrible death.
~**~I might have been the only rider in St. Louis not on his bike today. Yes, I missed a 60 degree January day. It happens sometimes.