What is it about full-length frame pumps that I like so much? Maybe it’s just nostalgia. My first serious bike, a cherry red Basso in the ’80s, had a frame pump. There’s also something about that lemon limey color. I really dig it, but I don’t think I’d ever own a bike of that color. Don’t know why.wafflesandsteel | Filed under: bikes | No Comments »
We’re going to try to be a one-car family. My wife will drive the car, and I’ll get around on bike. I don’t want to use my two road bikes because I know they’ll either end up trashed or stolen. So I’m in the market for something that will be inexpensive but reliable. It also needs to be good in all weather conditions. I’ll use it for riding to classes and running errands. Here are some of my options:
Pros: I’ve always wanted to try ‘cross, and I would be killing two birds with one stone with the bike. It would be fast and fun to ride, and it would do well in the snow and other hostile conditions.
Cons: I’ve just spent a bunch of money on my new Moots this summer and I hate to shell out so much more for another new bike. Bad for my finances and marriage. If I liked ‘cross, I’d immediately start lusting for a better bike. The bike snob within me generally dislikes entry-level stuff.
B. Used ‘cross bike.
Pro: I could get a decent rig at a great price.
Cons: I might have to replace components soon, and I don’t need the extra headache and expense. Also, I’ve put an ad on Craigslist and no one is responding.
Pros: It would be easy to maintain, basically a worry-free, bomb-proof reliable ride. Kona has a good one called the “Bike,” and my local REI store has a comparable rig. They cost between $450-$600.
Cons: I’m still not sure if I want to spend that much money. It would be nice to keep the cash in my special savings fund for carbon race wheels.
D. Used vintage cruiser for $80.
Pros: The price is right. It would be a steel workhorse that would serve me well. I might even have money left over to buy a decent used cross bike.
Cons: After spending so much time zipping around in a Ferrari, would it be a huge letdown to drive a Ford Taurus? It would certainly be hard to impress the ladies with this machine.
E. A used Lemond Ti bike.
Pros: I’ve always wanted to own a Lemond bike! When will I ever find a used titanium model in my size for $800, maybe less if I can bargain successfully? I could build it up with some entry-level SRAM or Shimano components, and it could serve as my commuter rig and my rain bike. I’ll hate myself later if I pass on this opportunity.
Cons: I’m not sure if I want to spend $1000+ building up another bike. I also don’t have the time for it. Also, the seller hasn’t responded to my e-mail. It might be sold already.
F. A vintage Gitane touring bike for $250.
Pros: Wow, a real conversation piece. It would be comfortable, classy. I could hang racks on it for hauling groceries. The gearing would be easy on my legs. The price is right. It looks like someone really loved this bike.
Cons: The bike has Huret components. I’m having a hard enough time finding spare Campagnolo parts. How hard would it be to service Huret machinery? What if the rear derailleur broke down tomorrow? Would I need to replace the entire group?
As always, I welcome advice and suggestions from everyone!
wafflesandsteel | Filed under: bikes, cyclocross bikes, Gitane touring bike, Kona Bike, Lemond titanium frame | 4 Comments »
For ages, I’ve been hoping that Dutch city bikes will catch on in the U.S. Last year, I read a story in the New York Times about how more people were riding them in N.Y.C. It’s always great to see it yourself, and that’s what I did this weekend in Central Park.wafflesandsteel | Filed under: bikes, Dutch city bikes, New York | 1 Comment »
I got a text message today from another expat cyclist in Guangzhou. It said, “I crashed my bike against another cyclist going the wrong way and I slapped his head. A bystander intervened. He hit me and so I punched him. He went down. Now I am in police custody.”
I called him and found out the situation was much more serious. He sent the text from a hospital, where he was being treated for possible injuries to internal organs. He wasn’t able to talk long, but he said that he was still in police custody at the hospital. The details of the incident are still sketchy.
I’m completely sympathetic. I’ve been in the same situation many times before, and I struggled to maintain my cool. This rider said he was descending a small mountain when he hit the cyclist who was “salmoning” – one of the national pastimes of cyclists in China. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been climbing or descending and had to find my way around someone who was riding against traffic. You would think that it was the responsibility of the salmon to find safe passage around the person going the right way. But that’s not how it works in China. It’s one of the few times a Chinese cyclist will hold his line, i.e. when the line really belongs to you.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic. The point I want to make is that it is NEVER a good idea for a foreigner to hit a Chinese person – NO MATTER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. It’s dumb for two reasons:
1. Cyclists look ridiculous in a fistfight. We’re wearing clippity cloppety cleated shoes and Spandex that looks cool on the bike but extremely dorky on the road in a fistfight. If you don’t believe me, check this out.
2. In China, a Chinese person can rape your women, burn down your home and key the new paint job on your Colnago … but if you hit him, oh man, you’re in big trouble. I know a guy whose crazy Chinese neighbor threw his wife’s bike off the top of the apartment complex. He confronted the Chinese guy, things quickly got heated, he punched the Chinese guy and pinned him to the ground. Before he knew it, the Chinese guy called the police and the foreign guy had to write a mea culpa “self criticism” letter and pay a small fine to his lunatic neighbor. The police weren’t at all interested in hearing about how the neighbor tossed the guy’s wife’s bike off the roof. They just focused on the fisticuffs.
I have another friend – a pretty strong bike rider, actually – who was on a training ride when he got doored and hit the ground really hard. As he was picking himself up, he noticed that a Chinese passenger in the car was laughing at him. He went over to the passenger and clocked him. Well, the police showed up at his house later and threatened to expel him from the country if he didn’t apologize in writing and pay a fine.
The Chinese take assault very seriously, especially when a foreigner is doing the punching. As soon as you strike out, it doesn’t matter what triggered it, you’re guilty.wafflesandsteel | Filed under: bikes, China cycling, Guangzhou cycling, tips, violence | No Comments »