Time for a new bike!

I’m so excited! I’ve had my Cannondale 400 for about 5 years now, and it’s been good to me.  But ever since I sold my car, I’ve started lusting after a new bike. After all, think of all of the money I’m saving by not having a car, right? What better use for that money than to get a new bike. But what kind of bike to get? My 400 does so many different things so well, it’s decent on the longer rides, can carry all the groceries I need, and it’s pretty fast. Still, I’ve got the itch to get a new bike, and I just have to satisfy it.

How about a super light-weight crabon fibre racing bike? Those things can cost anywhere from $5,000 on up, but I heard about a company called Neuvation that essentially puts together a lightweight frame with great components for around $2,000. They do it so cheaply by having essentially no marketing budget. So maybe I should get their FC7900:

The thing weighs less than 18 pounds! Imagine how fast I could speed down the East Bay Bike path on this! Well, I’d probably just scare the hell out of the out-of-shape Barrington residents as they cruise at 8 mph on their comfort bikes. Maybe not such a great idea… but maybe someday?

Well, how about a steel touring bike – something that would be comfortable for 75 plus miles, day after day that I could use for long trips. I could even go to the local frame builder, Circle-A Cycles. Just think, a bike built just for my body. No more picking something off the rack. I could even get custom color and minimal graphics like this one:

check those bar-end shifters

I’d be supporting a local craftsman, someone who is sought out for his custom work. And it looks like he makes some pretty sweet bikes. But the cost – a little steep for me right now.

How about a dedicated commuter bike. Something with internal hub gearing (great for being low-maintenance), and an up-right posture. Something like the Breezer Uptown 8 – it even has a chain guard so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting chain grease on my pants.

I could go crazy and get a big cargo-hauler like the Surly Big Dummy:

Or even crazier with the Bullitt S7 cargo bike.

Like I said before, I can fit all of the groceries I need into my panniers. About the only thing I can’t carry on my bike that I regularly like to buy, is a case of wine or a 12 pack of beer (two six packs are no problem with the panniers, but I prefer the thriftiness of buying 12 packs). So I don’t need either of those, although they look like they would be useful for people with large families. The bullitt can be equipped with a large box that goes on the platform.

How about a fixed gear or single speed? Definitely low maintenance and lightweight. And if I read one more article about how riding one is a total zen experience, I’ll puke. Before puking, maybe I should try it for myself? Something from uber-hip Mission Bicycles in SF?

Speaking of puking, how about that color combination I mean “colorway”? I’d have to use a 50 pound lock just to keep it out of the hands of the salivating RISD students.  And oh yeah, I have to climb a big hill to get home no matter where I go, so maybe it’s good to have gears.

There’s just something magical about a folding bike. I could take it on the train any time. I could even take it on a plane. It’s just so cool that you can carry around a bike folded up into a little package like this.

Dahon Curve D3

But I certainly don’t need a folder. I don’t ride the commuter rail during peak hours (when only folders are allowed), and I rarely take my bike with me as it is. Also, the local buses (which cover the entire state) allow full-sized bikes at any time – I should take advantage of that some more and explore other parts of the state.

So, I’ve ruled out all of those other bikes… for now. I may return to one of them for my third bike. In the meantime, I have finally acquired my second bike. And by “acquired” I mean it was left with me by a friend when he moved away because he didn’t want to truck it with him. Check out this sweet ride!

Purple and rust, now that’s a hip colorway! Check out the front brakes:

Those brakes look a little side goggled. It’s hard to show in a still picture, but the front wheel is completely out of true. I don’t know how my friend let the bike get in this condition.  But the bottom bracket still looks beefy:

Well, beefy and rusty. Now what do I do with it?

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10 responses to “Time for a new bike!

  1. A former co-worker was an avid bike nut. He used to bike from southern Cranston into Providence every day.

    Had a sweet carbon-fiber bike that cost him about $4,000. Light as a feather.

    If I go that route I’d probable go carbon-fiber.

    • It certainly is tempting to go with something in carbon fiber as my next bike. They may be expensive – but much cheaper than a sports car! I think what I really

        need

      is a “beater bike.” Something old and beat up that I can take out in any weather for short trips to work and to the store. I take my cannondale right now, and I’m sure that I’ve worn it down quite a bit by doing that. The one I got from my friend is probably just a little

        too

      beat up

  2. I enjoy reading your blog about living car-free in PVD. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure that I recognize that bike – the man who used to own it moved to Texas, right?

    • That’s right, he’s off to Texas, and I have his bike. It might be beyond my powers to repair it, however. I’ve been volunteering at Recycle-a-bike, so I’ll take it there and see what can be done with it. It’s a good illustration of why you shouldn’t leave a bike outside for months at a time.

  3. Yes, I do remember he chained it outside his apartment during the winter! I seem to remember his basket rubbing against the front tire!

    Provided the frame and the bottom bracket threads are still intact, then you should be able salvage it.

  4. Yeah, I’m going to completely disassemble it and put it back together, just as practice. In the meantime, I’d still like to get a beater bike – Maybe from recycle-a-bike. Their bike sale is Saturday, but I’ll miss it – maybe there will be some brown students graduating who want to get rid of their school bikes.

  5. Have you considered a cyclo-cross type bike? This type of bike fits an interesting niche. Many of these models are steel yet incorporate racing type components. They are very adaptable as a commuter, strong enough to haul the groceries or touring gear, and fast enough to join in on weekend group rides. The versatility of its geometry is attractive to many folks. The horizontal rear drop-outs on most models would even allow transition to an internal geared hub or a fixed gear if the mood arose. 🙂

    Some popular examples of this geometry are:
    Surly cross-check
    SOMA double-cross
    Salsa Casseroll

    Best of luck! Repairing your buddy’s bike sounds like a great prospect also. I do have to say after taking a few bike repair classes at my local shop it is very satisfying to build up or repair a bike yourself. Project bikes may not be much to look at but they are empowering and quickly turn into the favorite slippers you never want to throw out. 😉

    Cheers!

    • I will consider a cyclocross bike when it’s time to put down serious money for a bike. I think it’s between that and a tourer – but that’s probably a year out from now. I was just listing those other bikes for fun, although I do like to look at them. We’ll see how it goes with rebuilding the Cignal. A beater bike is what I really need next, and that shouldn’t cost too much. Then I can start saving for the next bike!

  6. Pingback: This town’s not big enough for the two of us « Car-Free in PVD

  7. Pingback: Help our friends at Recycle-A-Bike « Car-Free in PVD

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