April 3, 2014

in which I have become obsessed with bikes

I don't mean to sound evangelistic, but I think biking may have changed my life. I realized last week, when the kids were on spring break and I wasn't biking to school and back again twice a day, that I wasn't sleeping well. I have (and have had for years) a terrible habit of waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about things that, in the light of day, aren't really a big deal. I've been dealing with that less lately but it wasn't until my Spring Break bike hiatus that I realized riding helped with this. I don't think it's just the exercise, although I'm sure that helps. I think it's being outside, in all sorts of weather. And that little kid freedom of having a bike to go wherever you want to. And coasting down a hill.

But I also realized that my bike really, really sucks. I thought it was just me, not really in shape, learning to ride again. And then Will had to borrow my bike for the day while his was in the shop (let's just pause for a moment to picture Will riding through the bike crowds on a purple retro ladies bike with a basket that's way too small for his long ass legs. Yeah, you're welcome for that smile.)  He could barely make it up the hill to our house. My much more in shape, much better biker husband couldn't believe that I had been riding it all over town.

I doubt, very much, that I'll ever be one of those biker who wears spandex and reflector shoes and aerodynamic helmets. I'm more of a London Tweed Run kind of girl (the Portland version is coming up!) Upright, step through bikes and leisurely pedaling rather than racing. But I still need a bike that I don't have to stop and fix every time I ride if I'm going to ride every day.

So I'm on the hunt for a new bike. A good bike. A girly-ass bike (because I like them. And also I wear skirts a lot, so it makes things easier). And I'm all kinds of bike obsessed. Reading up on hub gears vs. a derailleur (I like the sound of the hub style) and lugged frames and skirt guards and following bike blogs about family riding and city riding and riding in clothes that aren't made mostly of lycra.

If money were no object I would run, RUN out and buy this.

A Princess at the fair

Oh how I love that bike. And actually, I have no doubt that it's worth every penny of it's $1300 price tag. I know a really well made bike is worth the cost and that it would last me for years. Maybe forever. Never the less, too expensive. Most of the parents at our school seem to be riding some version of these.

Which are much more expensive and since I no longer have toddlers to haul around, not really what I need. In the grand scheme of things, for Portland, the Pashley is not an expensive bike. But still. Yeeks. Maybe one day. It is beautiful....

On a slightly more affordable scale I'm digging the Bobbin Bikes. The Birdie is awesome

But it's only a 3-speed. Granted, I can only ride my current bike in one speed, even though it's supposed to have 21, so 3 would be pretty damn awesome. But it also comes in a 7 speed, just not in the fun yellow and without a full chain guard thingie (see, I'm learning all sorts of technical biking terms) Which probably makes more sense. If I could find one locally to test ride I think I'd be sold. It's kind of an expensive purchase to make without trying it out though.

Anyone have a Bobbin? Do you like it? I've looked at Public Bikes as well, and Gazelle too, but I'm not as inspired to love either of those.