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A New Bike for Christmas

26 Dec

It’s such a traditional Christmas gift that it’s almost a cliche: the new bike. I don’t remember ever waking up to find a bike under the Christmas tree, but I do remember that one year my father repainted my older sister’s outgrown bike and updated it just for me. Off came the 1960′s style handlebars and saddle and on went Stingray handlebars and a banana seat with bold flowers and a sissy bar. I was very excited to have a girly bike with the latest style.

As an adult, I appreciate even more that my father took the time to not only paint the frame and upgrade the worn parts, but to choose fashionable accessories for me. My dad is more of a “function over style” kind of guy. There were many crudely but effectively repaired items around our house to attest for his skill. I don’t have a photo of the bike, but it resembled this one I found on Craigslist, except that mine was hand painted blue and had long handlebar tassels. But the saddle is identical to mine. Isn’t it groovy?

This year I didn’t get a bike for Christmas, but I was lucky enough to have one of my bikes become someone else’s Christmas bike. A friend-of-a-friend was looking for a good used mountain bike for his girlfriend, so I sold him my carbon-framed full-suspension 2007 Trek Fuel 9.8 race bike. After I bought Scarlet, my Ibis Mojo, in 2009, the Trek was pushed into a corner of my garage and ignored. She never even got a name or a bike portrait, even though she got me on the podium at Sea Otter in 2008.

With the extra cash from selling the Trek and the extra garage space now available, I was hoping to buy Dick a new bike for Christmas. Ever since we got back from London, he had been eyeing the Pashley Roadster Sovereign, a classic English city bike with a relaxed, upright geometry in a lugged steel frame, a leather sprung Brooks saddle, a full chain guard, hub-generated lights and a sturdy rack. On Christmas Eve, we went down to A Street Bike Named Desire and took a test ride.

For all its good looks and great details, something about the Pashley’s geometry/sizing didn’t work for him. It seemed like a combination of its high bottom bracket and his preference for full leg extension made the seat feel awkwardly high, especially when stopping and starting. Disappointing.

Both Dan and Joe, the dad-and-son shop owners, recommended the Pilen, a bike made by a small manufacturer in Sweden. From the big smile spread across his face during the test ride, I could tell that Dick liked the feel of the Pilen much better.

Dick also liked the the Pilen’s components, accessories and the color choices, but he wasn’t ready to commit. He wants to test ride more city bikes, like Gazelles and WorkCycles from the Netherlands. But I have a feeling we’ll be back for the Pilen.

If you were to add another bike to your stable what would it be? Would it replace an existing bike or would it be yet another bike to ride?

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3 Comments

Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Around Town

 

3 responses to “A New Bike for Christmas

  1. Rachel Unger

    December 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Ooh – on a Thanksgiving trip to South Carolina last year, I rented a Trek Navigator 300. It had these combo tires that were flat on top, but knobby on the sides. Other than the saddle, it rode like a dream. I liked it so much that I took pictures of it, just to remember what it was. I liked it so much that I seriously considered buying it and shipping it home!
    If I could sell my ’09 Giant Cypress, I think I’d be tempted by a Trek. It’d be a good alternate to my 2010 Specialized Vita.

     
  2. CD

    January 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    My hubby received a Viva Velo in black this year for Christmas. Unfortunately, Mk’s Bks -the sole importer to the US- no longer carries Viva’s and has been clearing out stock. I didn’t get a Juliet for Christmas :-( I did however finally receive my Kettler Layana that was ordered back in September. Feeling that the Layana did not look girly and was painted brown, I named him Hershey to which my husband promptly imformed me that ALL bicycles are girls and must have a girls name. I’m still looking for a Juliet in 52 cm for me -any color will do.

     
  3. Jackie Ross

    April 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I love the bike with the Daisy banana seat. I had one like that and would love to track one down .

     

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