Sheesh, can you tell I’m on a self-improvement kick? Healthier foods, the 100-push-up challenge (are you in?) and now — I’m thinking of bicycling in to work. Can you tell I get all fired up by the spring sunshine?
It’s about a 10 km jaunt from home to work for me. Most of it is along Woodroffe Avenue (four lanes at 80+ km/h — eek! — but with a lovely bike lane set off from the road) and it’s largely flat. I just need another week or so to psyche myself into it, and a day with nothing planned for first thing in the morning, just in case it takes me two hours instead of the anticipated 40 minutes to make the trek!
And of course, like any new convert, now that I’m thinking of biking seriously I’m also thinking about upgrading my gear. Just this past weekend I bought myself a nice 1L coffee thermos so I can make a pot to go rather than ride through the drive-thru at Timmy’s, which was my biggest hurdle. Oh wait, you mean I’m supposed to be coveting bike-related gear? Yeah, that too!
I have a really nice bike. It’s about 15 years old, and has had, um, only moderate wear through the years. Let’s just say it got a lot more wear in the seven years before the babies arrived than it has since! It was a good investment at the time — I spent about $400 on it, and it’s still in pretty good shape. It’s not the most comfortable bike in the world, though. The handlebars are too low, and I have tried unsuccessfully to get them raised. I want one of those new cushy seats, too. Let’s face it, an ass in its 40s deserves a bit of comfort!
A year or so ago, I saw one of those retro-cruising bikes, and instantly coveted it. The big white-wall tires, the fenders, the pastel colours? Covet! But, are they practical? I don’t even know which type of bike I want — or, more specifically, which one is the best investment for the kind of riding I’ll be doing. A one-speed cruiser might be a little simplistic for the 10 km communte, no? (Who am I kidding, even with my current 21-speed bike, I only use about three of them and usually only then when I change gears by accident!) The hybrid bikes look like a good choice, and my cousin suggested I make sure I get something without those big knobby wheels if I’m planning on doing a lot of city riding.
Gah, so many choices!
I was surfing around the bike shop Web sites, and it seems like the base bike-shop price is more than $500 — about double what I was thinking I’d spend. (And think of the gorgeous camera lens I could get with $500!) But then, my existing bike is a testament to investing in a good product. Canadian Tire has a bunch in the $200 range. Can someone tell me the difference, and whether it’s really worth the extra $$ for a casual rider like me? I’m not out to win any races, I just want a comfy bike that will make me want to ride it.
Talk bike to me, bloggy peeps. What features do you love and hate about your bike? What do you covet? What should I watch out for? Is it worthwhile to invest in a $500+ bike that will last me another 15 years? (Ack, just realized that will bring me to age 55 and retirement — I think I have to go lie down now. When did I get to be so old???)