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My New Ride

I've wanted a decent street bike for years now; Seattle is a bike-friendly town, with bike lanes, bike paths, and drivers who have some vague idea that others do share the road with them. Every time I saw a bike go by I said, "I'd love to do that again."

Today I finally did something about it, going out to test ride a Specialized Sirrus Comp with a flat bar and no-flat tires. I drove fast along a sunny riverside, the brakes were a dream compared to my old ones, and the whole thing was just … joyous. The Specialized is the sort of the bike messenger ride I've always wanted: comfortable, fast, quick-shifting. I felt ten years younger.

I'll try a few others this week and over the weekend (I've got my eye on the Cannondale R700), but I'm totally open to suggestions from bike experts. Anyone have suggestions for a durable, lightweight, relatively upright posture commuter bike? Saddle preferences? Things to watch out for? I'm totally out of the loop on this tech.


( 13 sutras — Your wisdom )
Jun. 28th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
I think I'll watch your thread very closely. I'm also looking for a bike. This would be my very first bike. So I hope you don't mind if I glean advice bits from the responses on your blog post. :)

Jun. 28th, 2006 11:06 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you're not the only one. I have a pretty good idea what I want, honestly, but the bike shops around here are great about letting you ride before you buy.

My plan right now is to ride several new bikes each week on the lunch break, then make a decision. I recommend you ride at least a handful before you decide what style you like (road, upright posture, mountain, whatever).
Jun. 28th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
When I bought my last tool-around-the-city bike, I bought a straight-up mountain bike.

For one thing, it allowed me to sit straighter than road or cross styles, the tires resisted puncture better (my old road bike went flat every two weeks. It sucked) and the smaller wheels and gears made it easier to ride uphills. Seattle has some deadly hills, and I'm a fat, lazy man.

Be sure to get all the safety gear, too. Helmet, reflective vest, gloves and the blinking lights.

It's been a while since I went shopping for a bike, so I don't know the latest gearshift styles. And what are no-flat tires?
Jun. 28th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
I come from the standard street bike school, so I have no use for the heavy shocks or the nobbly tires of a mountain bike. But I'm all about gears to get uphill, for sure.

These no-flat tires are called Armadillos, and are made by Specialized. They apparently guarantee that they won't go flat for at least 12 months, and the bike shop guy swears that they work. Downside: rougher ride, and the 400 gram weight is a lot more than the average tire. Upside: no flats.

So bike riders review them at the RoadBikeReview site.

I'm totally with you about safety gear. I'll be the big geek covered in reflectors.
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
I don't use shocks at all. I never needed them for street riding and I never rode with a shock absorber I liked. They weigh too much and I feel like I'm being pitched forward every time I brake.

I did go for the knobby tires to get extra protection against broken glass and such. They do sell smooth tires for mountain bike sizes, though.

Those no-flat tires sound like heaven to me. Flat tires were dismal, especially when I was commuting to work. Nowadays I take the bus to work--to far to ride.

You want to know what else is essential Seattle bike gear? A bathing cap that you can put over the seat when you have to lock it outside on a rainy day.

Jun. 29th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
Suddenly, I'm picturing the Disco Monkey Biker King! :) All covered in reflectors, silver lame, and "Play that Funky Music" blasting from his iPod....
Jun. 28th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I've been absolutely craving a bike and I intend to get one. Unfortunately, I've only saved up $268 towards my bike purchase. I looked at some beautiful bikes at REI, but didn't even bother to learn their names because they're so far out of my price range. I remembered there was a bike place up near U Village, but after I trekked up there I discovered that I was in a *serious* bike shop, with $3500 bikes. ::sob::

Today I'm heading over to Bikeworks to see if they can help me find something appropriate in the used/refurbished market.

Jun. 28th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
I've been looking at Montlake Bicycle Shop and the Alpine Ski and Bike shop. Both had some good entry-level stuff, but even that was pricier than I was expecting.

OTOH, I sure don't need carbon fibre bike. And I saw some good deals on Craigslist recently, as well.

Let me know if Bikeworks treats you well!
Jun. 28th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
I bought my current bicycle for $10 at Value Village (and i think it was on sale, too -- originally $20), so i'm no use for bike suggestions. I just wanted to pop in and say, "Yay, 2 wheels!!"

Are you thinking of getting a bike seat to fit on the back for future rides with the little one?
Jun. 28th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
That second seat deal would be great. I think it's a few years off, though...
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, go for the 'core hardtail fixed gear.
Jun. 29th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
You know, I want the fixed gear, but my body isn't ready for it. I need to rebuild some skills and lose some pounds before I buy that bad boy.

But it's on my list.

Unless you know somebody looking to unload one....?
Jun. 29th, 2006 07:29 am (UTC)
Not at the moment. I sort of lust for a fixed-gear myself, but they're death on knees, in Seattle anyway.
( 13 sutras — Your wisdom )

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