Bike Like Me

Every time I see a new article about biking I get excited. After reading it, not so much. I feel that my kind of bike riding is totally ignored by the so-called specialists or athletes and that’s just not right.

It’s no wonder more people aren’t motivated to get back in the saddle and ride because like them I’m not interested in racing or setting up my bike so that I can be hunched over my handlebars trying to be aerodynamic wearing skin tight clothing.

Most of the people I see on the Bay Trail are like me, people on their bikes just trying to have fun and maybe lose a little weight. I see whole families biking together with big smiles on their faces and I know that’s what it’s really about!

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I smile at other bikers on the trail as they pass by me smiling back on a beautiful spring day.

Another thing that I notice is how many people seem to be riding bicycles that don’t suit them. They go to look at bicycles and buy the first shiny thing they see getting misdirected by the seller or pressured by their friends to buy a bike they aren’t going to want to ride. Or even worse a bicycle they will hate riding because it’s not the right type for them.

I see people on mountain bikes that never go on trails or expensive high-performance bikes made just for racing looking uncomfortable. If you don’t get the right bike for your body and where you ride you may be asking for a painful ride that will never get better.

If you are older you may not want to bend over on a ten-speed bike anymore and if riding on pavement most of the time you don’t need a shock absorber on your front fork you need a decent seat with springs underneath. Of course, that depends on you, we all have different needs and there are many types of bikes to choose from.

A warning up front, bikes are not made like mine anymore (my bike is 31 years old) and if you aren’t careful you could end up with a cheap bicycle that will break down more than you’d wish. Chains coming off easily, derailers with plastic parts that snap, bad breaks and pads, I’ve seen it all. Expensive doesn’t always mean quality spend a little time when you look. Get on the bike and take a test ride most good shops will let you ride first.

Even my roommate bought a mountain bike, it has 21 gears (versus my 10 gears) but when he rides with me on the Bay Trail he has to go through his gears constantly because they are for offroad use. Where my bike has stiff springs under the seat that make my bike incredibly smooth to ride, his has a front shock for landing on the wheel while doing jumps or taking large bumps on dirt paths. My bike has large wheels that roll further when I pedal and he has small knobby tires. It makes more of a difference than you’d think.

Touring bikes are your best bet you can ride them on the street but take them on the occasional trail or gravel road but they have changed! Most come with without fenders, have tiny seats without springs and drop handlebars (like a ten-speed bike.) There are “city (or commuter) bikes” that are meant for city streets that have almost straight handlebars and may or may not have fenders. The “dutch-style bikes” look more like the old touring bikes with fenders, good seats, and upright handlebars. There are so many different kinds of bike styles now so decide what you want on your bike and stick to it.

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Here you can compare a touring bike and a mountain bike. These are both Schwinn bicycles one old and one new. My frame (the sliver bike) is a girls “dutch style” bike and the red one is a unisex mountain bike. Mine is a 10-speed geared for the street and the other is a 21-speed bike geared for the dirt.

If you aren’t going to cram your bike into a trunk or car don’t get removable wheels. It makes your bike easier to steal, something else to go wrong and the front/rear breaks are affected because if the wheel comes off the breaks have to be opened up for that to happen. It does make it easier to change flats but it’s better to have fixed wheels and breaks in my opinion. You can always get a bike carrier for your vehicle.

I hope I’ve given you some things to think about. The important thing is, get the right bike for you so that you’ll be comfortable riding it because you’ll keep riding it. Get fenders if you don’t want to get wet or muddy going through puddles weather does change. Make sure the bike frame fits you and you can get on the bike. If you want an easier ride, get gears on your bike. Go to a reputable bike store and let them help you but be firm about what you want. Shop around and you’ll find that dream bike and love it as much as I love mine.

If you love your bike it will take you places and put a smile on your face!

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Bicycles And Christmas

The holidays are upon us and my mind turns to…bicycles and Christmas! Let’s not forget the New Year but one holiday at a time, please!

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Visions of, and internet searches for, a new touring bike have been buzzing around my little head this season. I have seen some amazing bikes. Not that I can afford one but one but I’m saving my bucks.

I love my old bicycle I really do but I don’t have the talent, tools or room to refurbish it like I’d like to do and it needs work. I like the fact that it’s made really well, a 10 speed and I don’t have to pedal to switch gears. This was a thing that Schwinn came up with in 1986.

There are many things I like about my bike but there have been updates to bicycles and parts in 30 years.

When the time comes I’ll have to decide just what I want to do probably this spring. I could see my old bike refurbished/repainted it would look great! Something to look forward to in the New Year.

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I got curious about what kind of artwork I could find about bicycles and Christmas. I found some great things to share.

Above and below are postcard type Christmas cards.

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'Dear Santa, if you leave a new bike under the tree, I will give you the antidote to the poison I put in the milk.  Timmy.'

One way to get a new bike…

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An old Schwinn holiday commercial. Look at that white flocked tree!

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I would love to own and proudly wear this sweater! Ugly, or not?

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A 12-metre tall Christmas tree made with 230 bicycles has been installed at a shopping mall in Shenyang, China, this year.

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Santa Cycle Rampage Day in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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Laurence Crossman-Emms’ 2015 Christmas Shot.

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The 2013 ZeroCelsius Christmas Tree bicycle parts repurposed from the dump to the Wealth Studio.

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Christmas Tree Made of Bicycles Unveiled At The Rocks

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I’m making a turkey on Christmas day with garlic mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, roasted carrots and some other goodies. Some rice pudding for desert. Right now I’m drinking egg nog with dark rum. I am splurging for Christmas but in moderation watching the waistline.

Hope you enjoyed the artwork. Whatever your plans I hope you have a nice Christmas. Wishing you all the best in health and bike riding!

Love, Bekkie

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Tis the season to be jolly!