Thursday, 4 July 2013

Is there a perfect bicycle out there?

The short answer is no! However this does not stop me trying to find one. I have just been forced to admit that my Dawes Diploma bike has got to the point that to fix all the minor issues (myself) will cost more than getting a less beaten up secondhand model. It was in such a bad way that I worked out I would save more money by dissecting it for the handy bits than trying to sell it at a whole.

So what do I really need in a bicycle? I cycle to and fro from work and when it is just too lazy to take the car. For me it's primarily about saving pennies on public transport. This is not to say that I don't like the exercise and the thinking time it gives me for an hour and half each day. Suffice to say that am not looking for a 'cyclists' bike.

I like an old fashioned Sit up and Beg bike. Yes this partly aesthetics and a vague sense of being Miss Marple. However my main argument for the sit up and beg cycle is the posture. We spend hours each day hunched over computers, mobiles, ipads, books. Looking down is becoming so ubiquitous that we are all at risk of being permanently hunched over in old age. Having a bike that forces you to look up and sit up goes a little way to counteracting this.

Margaret is being silly here and has her handlebars too low.

I like a basic bike. I'm quite a handy person so want to be able to fix my bike when it goes wrong. Too many frivolous bits and bobs and I'll have to pay somebody to sort it out.

I like a big bike. I know this is flying against the trend for nifty light bikes but I would argue that a big heavy bike is great for two reasons.
1. It makes the cyclist larger and more visible to cars. I like being seen.
2. It makes the cyclist work harder. As this is my main form of exercise I consider this to be a good thing.

You are probably assuming that I have bought a pretty Pashley. They are great bikes and I did have a 2nd hand one once but they became fashionable and it became the only bike I have ever had nicked. So I like a cheap bike. My old Dawes cycle was a rarity in that I bought it brand new. Having spent £350 I then had to spend another £50 on insuring the thing. (I also never really liked it. Not sure why; it just didn't feel right.) A decent 2nd hand bike is the way forward.

This time I have gone for a second hand Dutchie. It is VAST! At least a foot longer than the Dawes. It's rather like the cycling equivalent of  a black cab. Nice and basic to fix and aesthetically fabulous. A bit too continental for Miss. Marple but rather chic nonetheless. (I should add that I always wear a helmet. Aesthetics are great but being alive with all my bits in place is better.)

So is it perfect? Of course not! It is pretty good though.

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