Sunday, November 9, 2008

warm at heart...

Soon my beloved lake will be frozen over and the silence of winter will have arrived.
This weekend Minnesotans officially gave in, pulled out their down coats, their winter hats, their mittens, and their scarfs.
I spent the better part of my weekend exercising in cold weather, searching out edible Mexican food, contemplating winter clothing to wear while exercising in cold weather, and figuring out how bicycles will factor into my winter sanity.
So, I think it is time to kick off my
Winter Prep series...

Winter Prep Installment 1
(Do not fear, this will be my longest post...)
If you occasionally tune in to my hyggelig, you know two things about me:
1. I left my heart in S
an Francisco (cliche, but true)
2. My heart broke when I left a Skeppshult in Sweden
Well, since the d
ay my heart broke at a bicycle shop in Stockholm, I have waited for winter to set in so I could restart my bicycle search. Everyone knows I think winter is a swear word, but yes - I was also waiting for it to come. It is, after all, inevitable here.
So, to recap...I wou
ld say much of my criteria remains the same after all these months:
-a basic bike to get around town for errands
-a bike that is Dutch-i
-a bike that does not break my bank
-a bike that if stolen would not leave me heart broken forever
-a bike that I can ride up the hills
-lighter is good for me
-a bike I can go further than 2 miles on, but no need to go 30
-a chain guard
-a hand break; front and rear breaks
-nicely designed

For all these reasons, my thoughts have turned of late to the Gary Fisher Simple City.

A couple of weeks ago H and I went for a ride and stopped in at Freewheel on the Greenway and there we saw my first step-through Simple City. It was too big for me, but I liked the look. It was pearl white and had aqua fenders and chain guard.
Today we stopped over at the original Freewheel and as always, I received great customer service. I had to chuckle a little after the visit - I think this was the first time in my life when I was in a bike store when I knew more about bikes (Dutch-style of course) than the staff...

H forgot to snap some photos, but here is my synopsis of the Simple City:
I test rode the 3 speed.
-Though the seating position did not seem as comfortable as the real deal, there is potential - I would add a rise stem and perhaps new handlebars.
-The gear shift is not 'authentic', but works fine and the three speeds actually seemed ok. I was testing it on a flat street, but we did talk to the the guy helping us about switching out chain rings, etc. to customize the options.
-I do not care for the st
ep-through colors, but I can get past it and make it my own by adding my favorite fenders, a pink chain, the skirt guards I bought in Stockholm, a basket - yeah, I could rock it. The 'Men's' black is a beautiful mat color - wish the step through came in the same.
-I think the distance between seat and handlebars is good for me.
-This bike is lighter and it is noticeable. I believe around 27 lbs. The frame is aluminum. I like all that.
-I am disappointed it only has reflectors and not a full dynamo light set up, but that could be added on or I could just use what I have.
-A nice touch is the anti-rotation spring between the downtube and the fork to stabilize the bike when you have a basket added on and loaded down.
-The combo of front hand break and rear coaster break seems fine for around town and worked well.
-I was test riding this bike in my longer (mid-thigh length) winter coat, gloves, and no hat in 25 degree weather and I liked riding it. That says a lot right there!
In the end I was like (shrug shoulders) "It's just a bike". And you know what, that's okay.
For around $600, this bike mostly works for my needs.
It's not 'the one', but maybe for is.
And in the end, shouldn't it be 'just a bike'?

And lastly, perhaps I am drawn to this bike because of the affinity I feel as a former Marin-ite.