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I can has bike!

Today I drove in to Allston to look at a bike from Craigslist. (Two other attempts to buy from Craigslist resulted in a bike way too big for me, and one way too small.) This one was just about "just right" -- with a little seat and handlebar adjustment, that is. This is a Ross Peryton hybrid model, probably made between 1994-96. (The woman selling it had bought it used herself, so she wasn't sure.) She and her boyfriend had done a tune-up on it, so it rides pretty well. (She said it had been riding badly, so she bought a new bike, and then they were tuning it up to sell it, and she realized, "Hey, if we had done this in the first place, I wouldn't have had to buy a new one!"). $75.

(Picture of the cute little white winged stag logo.)

So I paid up, and we stuffed the thing into the back of the Mini, anchored it around the front passenger seat, and bungeed the hatch shut. Then I drove up to Lexington Center, to take it out for a spin on the Minuteman Bikeway.

It was a 3.5, maybe 3.75 mile ride out to the Bedford end of the bikeway, and the same back, so I did that. (The combined there and back would be about the distance it would take me to bike into work. Not on that bikeway. Along a different bikeway.) It was a good, low-traffic straightaway, so I could get used to the ride and how to shift gears on a bike, and what the various gears did, and using the hand-brakes and all. It was a nice ride. My legs felt a little fatigued on the way back, I think because it turned out that from Bedford to Lexington was just a little bit uphill. But otherwise, I wasn't bothered by the ride.

(Yes, I already had a helmet. I bought one last week when I went out to see the first bike I looked at, in case that one worked out. I got a Bell Faction in matte black.)

I also found that I was totally able to unload and load the bike into the back of the Mini by myself. Maybe I'll look into a bike rack for it, though. We'll see.

So, yay!


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
'3.5, maybe '3.75'? Miles? Each way???

Crikey moses, I think that would kill me. I salute you! :-)

Cute bike though, have fun on it! :-D

Jul. 5th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
A total of 7-8 miles might be quite a bit on foot, but it's actually not much on a bike. Even at a slow pace, you could cover that in just under an hour.

I used to bike around 15 miles on most Saturdays. An all day trip would cover at least 70-80 miles.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think it took me about 45 minutes to do the entire thing, and that was with a pause in the middle to sit for a bit, peruse the map I'd just bought, and drink some water. I would expect to be able to get it down to 30-40 minutes; the toughest parts are going to be navigating the cross-streets, I think. At least until I get more confident about those.

The most I've ever biked in a single day, though, is 18 miles.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
When I lived in Ohio, there were a crapload of bike paths everywhere because the old railroad network that was dismantled in the 1970's was simply paved over. You could literally bike from Cincinnati to Cleveland (~250 miles), all on bike path, if you wanted to.

I lived right next to one of these paths, and some of my coworkers decided to be part of an MS 150 bike ride (150 miles in two days). So I trained for this by working up to doing 70-80 miles on Saturdays. Of course, it's not the 75 miles the first day that kills you, but the 75 miles the next day... I didn't train for that part. :-/ I think I did a total of 105 miles for that ride.

The most I did do in a day was just over 80. Wanted to do a century (100 miles in a day) before moving, but never got to.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
70-80 miles


I think I need a wee lie down....

The funny thing is, I would quite cheerfully walk 7-8 miles, and fairly often do. But any time I get on a bike, I get wobbly legs after the most ridiculously short distances :-(
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Huh! I wonder if you just never got on a bike that fit you well? That can be a problem. And as I was saying above, I think that having a geared bike really helped cut down on the effort; even though I rode non-geared bikes when was young and had correspondingly young legs!
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
It's never occurred to me before that bikes need to fit the people who're riding them, or vice versa. So maybe that's it, right enough!
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
To be honest, it didn't really occur to me, because prior to this purchase, the last bike I owned was like 22 years ago, and it was simply "the bike I grew up riding as a teen". Bikes? Fit? What? (Yet, that bike must have been just fine for me, I guess.)

But I certainly found it to be true when I was shopping for this one. First you have to decide, obviously, how high you want the seat to be off the ground. I don't know what you call 'em in the UK, but here, "beach cruiser" style bikes tend to have seats that are relatively closer to the ground than "road" bikes (i.e. the kind they ride in the Tour de France, with little skinny tires and rams-head handlebars) and mountain bikes. The "beach cruiser" style also tends to have more of an "upright" ride (you sit more upright, because the handlebars are much higher than the seat).

I wanted to be able to touch the ground with the balls of my feet, at least, while sitting on the seat. (For stability when stopping/stopped.)

So then, it's all a matter of how the bike-frame is built, and where the pedals are mounted in relation to the seat. Bikes really are modeled to fit a certain size of person. This one that I bought was actually advertised by someone saying "fits a woman between 5'7" and 5'9"", and that was perfect for me. Because the thing is, you can lower the seat on some bikes, but if you lower it too far, you wind up with your knees coming up too far and bending at too acute an angle when the pedal is at the top of its trajectory.

In the long term, I would probably like to someday get a new bike (rather than a used one) that is more of a cruiser style, but with some speeds. This hybrid (i.e. a hybrid between a cruiser style and a mountain bike style) allows me to sit kind of upright. I have a feeling that there's a bit more bending of my knee than I'd ideally want, in order to get my feet on the ground as I desire. And the handlebars have been raised, but I could probably use them raised a tiny bit more, and a more upright cruiser style would be good on my back.

I also find, with this style of bike, that the center of the pedals is farther under my butt than I think you find with the cruiser style. So I'm not used to that yet, although I don't actually know whether that makes for easier, or harder pedalling. (You can kind of imagine that where the pedals are in relation to your seat, tucked under or a bit forward, changes the angle of your pedalling stroke.)

All of that is making me wonder whether you've been tried on bikes that not only didn't fit you well, but were conspired to be bikes that weren't making the most efficient use of your energy, you know? As in, they were bikes configured in such a way that your legs were having to work much harder than they ideally should.

(^not a biking expert by any means, though)
Jul. 6th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
Expert or not, all that makes perfect sense. And that it's not only the fit of the bike, but the style of the bike too. I've only ever ridden cast-off mountain bikes since I was a kid, or hired bikes.
Jul. 6th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
I think you guys bike a lot faster than me. It used to take me around 2 hours to go 8 miles. I find going any faster than that completely terrifying.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Whoops! Miles, yeah. (Just corrected that.)

I'm not sure how much easier having the geared bike made doing it. I've used the bike machines a lot at the gym, and can easily do 7 miles at a sitting on those. Now, back in the day (when I was a teenager, that is), I used to bike to work in the summers on a plain old single-speed cruiser bike, and that was probably 3 or 4 miles one way. I also would frequently ride to the lighthouse end of the island (9 miles one way) or the southern end, where the good shopping was (6 miles one way).

So biking distances don't worry me. :) Although I will also say that obviously, I am NOT used to biking on hills! On my way back today, I was wondering why the heck my legs were getting so fatigued, and why I was having to pedal so constantly, until I said to myself, "must be an upward incline, nitwit!" (You couldn't really SEE it going uphill.)

It's pretty much exactly a 7 mile ride one way to work -- but see, I'll get to rest all of the workday before having to turn around and do 7 miles again, so I think it'll be okay. :)
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
Well good for you! I shall still admire you for doing it, if that's okay - because I'm really serious, it would probably kill me. :-(

I'll get to rest all of the workday before having to turn around and do 7 miles again

OHHH yeah. Refractory periods. I'm all for them. ;-)

Jul. 5th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, YAY! Looks nice! I think I should has bike too.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
Everyone should! :)

But seriously, what tipped me over the edge was them getting enough of the Charles Riverwalk done for it to be an almost-continuous bikeway to downtown. I am really not anxious to ride on streets that have traffic, around here.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
I tried biking to work for a while when I lived in Medford, but riding on Mass Ave was a sufficiently awful experience that I stopped doing it. All the biking lit I've read emphasizes finding alternate routes that have less traffic.

And yet, there were always idiots biking up and down Mass Ave with no helmets and their iPods on, and they didn't get killed...

There are some nice bike routes down by the river in Alexandria. I'm pretty sure you could bike into Mount Vernon if you wanted to, as well as into the city.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
Mass Ave.: yeah, forget that. (I'm already plotting how to ride down to get ON the Charles River path, on the least-busy roads around here.)
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
Ehxcellent. I got my bike rack from Sports Authority, and it's probably the kind that would adapt to a flatback car okay. (If you want to test it out, let me know.) Of course, my bike is long-framed enough that it's very awkward on the rack.

And yes, the Minuteman trail is very subtly graded -- the Somerville-to-Arlington-Center portion, about 2 miles long, is like 2d uphill the whole way, so although most of it is a straightaway, it's weirdly tiring.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Hmm -- do you have the Allen trunk rack? I was just looking at that -- it's in a price-range that doesn't make me cringe, and I saw one review from a Mini owner saying they used it just fine.
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Are you going to get a bikerack? 'Cause bungee may be alright for sometimes, but...

Also, then you can haul me and my bike too! 15 mile pleasure rides, here we come!
Jul. 5th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
I'm looking into the bike-rack options, yeah.

Although I'm trying to picture the two of us biking together in a way that doesn't involve me huffing and puffing to keep up with you... :P
Jul. 5th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
Go you!

Also, big hugs sent your way. And sorry it was difficult to load, hope that all works out with minimum effort.
Jul. 6th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
YAY!!! That's awesome.

I'm also impressed. I sure couldn't ride that far on my first time out.
Jul. 7th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
Schweet ryde!
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Yay! Congratulations!!!

Have you seen this site? http://www.massbike.org/

It looks like they give similar urban biking skills classes to the one I took in Philly. This might be a really great thing to help you feel more confident about those crossings...

In any case, have fun! Wooooo!!! :)
Jul. 7th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
New bike! How exciting. I hope it does you well!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )