Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reader Question: Upright, Mixte, or Classic Road?

A reader emailed me a question and gave me permission to answer the question in a blog post. Here is her question:

Love your blog -- you're a woman after my own heart.   But clearly more educated than me. What I mean to say is, I'm a naive casual cyclist but mean to become an everyday cyclist. I care about function but I also care deeply about aesthetics (as you also seem to), as I am a designer by trade.

I don't currently have a bicycle as I was laid off (in 2009) just as my bike was stolen. :( (<-- That Sucked) I have been long-term borrowing sisters' and friends' but it's time to grow up. And by grow up, I mean take my parents up on their offer to buy me any bike, whatever I want, "get a good one." (!!!!)

If I may, let me lay out my sitch: 
  • I don't own a car, I live in Seattle, I pretty much will bike anywhere (bars, errands, work) in a variety of clothing (jeans, skirts, boots)
    • This makes me think I should get an upright.
  • I will be biking in a variety of weather (I mean, it's Seattle oftentimes in rain). 
    • This makes me think I should have fat tires.
  • It's also very hilly where I live. I also am toying with doing a triathlon and training for that.
    • This makes me think I should go for a fast, light, geared road bike.
I have been reading your posts but I wanted a visceral reaction from you to this dilemma: If I were to buy ONE bike right now, what would you choose for me - upright? mixte? or classic road? ughhh hybrid?

I know you're a busy lady but honestly, your feedback would mean a lot to me. I don't know where to start.

Many thanks,

Manny this is a great question, and I'm going to fearlessly tackle it head on. I say get the mixte.  I would not want to ride around a 50 lb upright bike in a city with hills - no way. So I would take that off the list immediately. You would also not be able to consider triathlon training on a bike like that. A well-built mixte like the Rivendell Betty Foy or the Sweetpea A-Line seem tailor made to suit your needs. I've never had the pleasure of trying those bikes, so I'm taking a bit of a leap of faith, but I've read a lot about them. They are both gorgeous bikes so I feel confident that they will satisfy aesthetically! They can be fitted with racks, fenders, baskets - whatever you need or want.

Photo via Rivendell

Photo via Sweetpea

I've been riding my Pashley Princess Sovereign for close to a year now and I have to tell you - there are problems. I feel that the range of where I can ride it is very limited because it is so heavy and slow. (I'll be writing a more extensive post on this later.) On the upside, I do feel like I'm riding a work of art. I just wouldn't advise you to have something like that as your only bike.

As far as the classic road bike goes - it would be good because it would be fast and efficient but you might have trouble wearing certain types of clothing and you might get dirtier than you want. On the mixte you can easily fit it with fenders to keep you clean. Also on the mixte, you'd  have room to put on fatter tires (especially with the Rivendell) if that's what you want to do.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Put a Bike on It.

Perhaps you've heard of the brilliant Portlandia sketch "Put a Bird on It." Well in my world, if you Put a Bike on It, I'll buy it. :)

I was powerless over resisting this adorable tote! The Timbuk2 website was out of them but I found one on eBay. I swear I was innocently browsing the website looking for a Kindle case for my mom when I came across this. It wasn't my fault. My collection of bags is growing dangerously out of control, but I must the say the quality, generous size and overall cuteness of this tote makes it a welcome addition to my collection. It's a keeper.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Po Campo Loop Pannier has Arrived!

I'll have to post a detailed review later after I've had some time with the bag, but my Po Campo Loop Pannier has arrived!

 via Po Campo

I went with the "Chartreuse Poppy" which is a bit greener than I imagined it would be. It's very cute!

Makeover complete. Po Campo bag attached. Ready for my commute!

Also my Pashley make-over is complete. With my new tires and grips and pannier, I don't know...might be elegance overload!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sold My Vintage Mixte.

I made the decision to sell my 1983 Centurion Le Mans Mixte (Rose). I just didn't have the time to devote to restoring her, and it was a shame to have her sitting in my garage collecting cobwebs. Sadly, I was in over my head. I had one session over at Bikerowave with the bike, and the more work I did, the more I realized how much work (and money, frankly) it was going to require. The wheels were dodgy and were probably going to need to be replaced. I tried to true them but it is apparently an art that I don't have a talent for. The cables and housing needed to be replaced, new tires, new chain, new brake pads, new saddle, etc. etc. It was just too much for me and I had to admit it.

I sold it to a gal who lives in Downtown LA who was going to fix it up for a friend of hers. That's a good friend! I wish her well and hopefully she will send me some pictures when she has it restored.  She seemed to know what she was doing, and I know she'll do a better job than I did!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pashley is Getting a Makeover Today!


My Pashley Princess Sovereign is out getting a makeover today at LA Brakeless.

I am replacing the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires that come with the bike with Schwalble Delta Cruisers in cream with reflective sidewalls. So many of the blogs I follow recommend these tires and the bike looks so lovely with cream tires that I just had to try them.

via Brooks

I also bought Brooks leather grips that match my saddle to replace the old school plastic ones that come with the Pashley.

I also felt that my gears were slipping a bit, so they are checking out that problem as well. LA Brakeless is the bike shop that is closest to my home - I can walk there. It's kind of a hard core fixie shop and my Pashley felt a bit out of place there, but the staff was very friendly and the gentleman who helped me said he knew how to fix a Sturmey Archer hub, so I believe she is in good hands!

I can't wait to see her all made up!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Po Campo Freebie!

Last week was Bike To Work Week in Chicago. To celebrate, Chicago-based bike bag company Po Campo did a give away on facebook yesterday. If you posted a picture of yourself biking to work, they'd send you a free reflective pin. Sign me up! I had a friend at the office snap a picture in the afternoon. (Sans make-up. Ugh!)

Speaking of Po Campo, I have been seriously considering getting their "Loop Pannier" bag. It seems like a great bike commuting bag and it's way prettier than my current Bontrager Grocery Panniers.

photo via Po Campo
Loop Pannier in Chartreuse Poppy Treated Acrylic

photo via Po Campo
Loop Pannier in Umber Waxed Canvas

photo via Po Campo
Here's how it looks on a bike.

I'm having a heck of a time deciding between these two colors. How about I put it up a to vote?

(There is a poll embedded in this post. Please visit the website to vote.)