Thursday, July 7, 2011

First ride on my new bike

On Tuesday I picked up my modified road bike (I really do prefer "Frankenbike") and last night I finally took it for a ride. This was the final result:

(See a before photo here)

For some backstory, I haven't used a bike as a mode of transportation since middle school. I always walked or took the bus in college, and frankly biking in a city rather than my small suburb from way back when kind of terrified me. In that "seems like a death wish" way. Plus, you know, I own a car. But then I was given this bike right about when my frustration with gas prices and my general level of consumption was rising and I started to rethink my position.

Last night I did a test ride over to Emily's cohabitat to return her keys after checking on Bernard and Triskit over the long weekend. It's about 5.2 miles round trip by bike (longer by car, because of Lake Harriet) and was a good learning experience distance.

Key learning #1: Do not wear strappy thong sandals. They are comfortable for walking but grab your feet in unfortunate ways when biking.
Key learning #2: How to use downtube shifting. I was mega intimidated but--shockingly--this technology used on tens of thousands of bikes is very user-friendly.
Key learning #3: Good modifications are amazing. I went to Tommy T's Cyclery in Linden Hills and Tom chopped down the seat post a few inches and installed an adjustable stem and flat handlebars. He does great work (and has a busy shop to back that up) and his prices are fair. It completely changed how it felt to ride the bike and made it fit so much better.
Key learning #4: I am going to want to use the rack in back. Riding with a small messenger back resulted in a lot of adjusting during the ride.
Key learning #5: Damn, those seats hurt. I feel a little bit like I did when I wiped out on a balance beam in gymnastics when I was 6. Ouch. I think I will order a gel seat because before you say anything, I am not wearing padded-ass bike shorts. I'm not that much of a cyclist and I don't jive well with non-natural fabrics.
Key learning #6: Savings! By my calculations, by not using my car last night I saved $0.72 in gas. My summer goal is to use my car on the weekends as little as possible, and I want to keep track of how much I save on each ride by not driving.
Key learning #7: I like biking. Oh, shut up, Minneapolis. Before you get too I-told-you-so, I will say that EVEN WHEN ON A BIKE, I was very frustrated by how few cyclists seemed to take responsibility for their own safety. It is not up to the cars to keep you from being hit. It is 50% up to you.


  1. I told you so!!!!!

    I'm surprised Tommy T didn't talk you into trading the downtube shifters for gripshift, though! Cool bike. You're gonna love it.

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