Besides naked desire, I mean.
Not that desire isn’t the most real of reasons. When I first went looking for a bike a decade ago it was a mint-green Bianchi(?) with cream tires and red detailing that mesmerized me – I do not doubt it was the most expensive bike at River City Bikes that day- but I dragged my eyes away and settled for something more practical and affordable.
And I like my present bike – though not as an object, not as the bike it is as compared to other bikes. I lack the necessary . . . focus? . . . to ever be a fancier. And I am not a collector, though I do love the attention collectors and fanciers lavish on the details. And I appreciate the fine designs their attention elicits.
But what I like about my bike is that it is the catalyst to a freedom of movement in the fresh air. An excuse to get the blood pumping and burn some calories even when I’m delivering and picking up and going in for meetings. But there are functions my present bike can’t perform, things I could be doing on two wheels that my present bike can’t activate for me.
Some of the desiderata a new bike would offer:
- A step-through frame. Today when I loaded up my panniers with groceries, the bags were loaded up so high that I couldn’t just swing my leg over to mount. I do love how graceful the one-foot-on-the-pedal coasting mount feels, but it’s hard to achieve when headed up hill. Other reasons for a step-through:
- It would allow biking in skirts so that I don’t have to change in the restroom when I bike my ride to more dressed-up occasions.
- It would make for easier stops and starts, especially when fully loaded.
- A full chaincase. So that my hems are not at risk of being chewed. [Do I or do I not need internal hub gearing? I LIKE the idea of internal hub gearing . . . but is this a possibly-live-without? (considering I have been living that way and have been riding pretty steadily for a number of years now . . . )
- A dress guard. Though, again, I think I could live without this, if I must.
- An upright geometry. This though, is a necessary. As it is, I’m always propping myself up on my fingertips, trying to get a taller ride. A taller headstem and widely curving handelbars ought to make for a much more comfortable ride. As important to me, the upright riding position looks more fun, less grim. Riding around on a fun-looking bike is going to do more to encourage other riders like me (grey-haired, non-marathon) to give cycling a try. (And I would love to see my small town turn into a bikelodeon utopia.) On the other hand, I don’t want a seat that’s so relaxed that I lose the efficiency of the leg position that gets me up my hills.
- A better constructed chain. Perhaps because of the steepness and multitude of hills I have in any given ride, I keep stretching out chains. Having the chain slip when trying to pedal uphill as it did today (with a truck breathing down my neck no less) is no fun and not conducive to feeling safe on the road.
- A basket. I rented a bike for a week once that came with a basket that lifted so easily and could be carried over my arm to walk through the market, then snugged back down again in place over the handlebars. I want that ease and convenience. And though I’ve appreciated the yellow panniers – it would be fun to find a more visually appealing option.
- Fenders. Can I just say that again? Fenders. And mudflaps.
- Headlights. We can say we just won’t ever ride in the dark, but how many times have I come home late, hoping the twilight isn’t too twi. I’d like the added visibility. (Besides headlamps look cool.)
- Handgrips that don’t grab bits of fluff from my cashmere gloves (which is the only thing I’ve found to keep my hands warm even when wet in the winter) and that won’t wear away in rolled-up strips of plastic.
- Tires that never get flats . . . (okay maybe that’s asking too much)
And what do I want to carry over from Bike #1 to Bike #2?
- The variety of gears – especially the lower granny gears (see Hills, multitude and steepness of, above)
- A comfortable seat
- Subtle color
- A design that allows me to ride all day, day after day, as well as for tooling around town
- A weight that doesn’t slow me down. I’m used to biking with loads of groceries, boxes of fruit, baby in the baby trailer . . . but again: Hills.
- My bell – which of course will transfer as easy as pi
And now I just need to figure out which bike will let me do everything I want to do. Any suggestions?