Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I've gone bike mad

Last year I picked up a lovely 25 year old Centurion Accordo mixte frame road bike on eBay. I hadn't ridden for years, and the last time I had was on my just-as-old mountain bike. I had the road bike a few days before swapping the saddle for a gel one and changing the handlebars to sit up and beg. I don't have the best sense of balance, and the drop handlebars terrified me, especially turning corners going down hills.

Since then I've been out on my bike, which I've named Petunia, every week. I ride her to the shops with baskets front and back if I don't have to grab a big load of groceries. I go for half hour rides along a super bike track for a bit of exercise, and now my husband has a road bike too we load the bikes on the car and head for the country or somewhere like Olympic Park with 35km of bike tracks.
It's brilliant. I love it. I've now swapped the tacky rubber handlebar grips for Brooks leather ones, and my husband is buying me a Brooks saddle for my birthday. The gel saddle can go on the MTB to replace the existing ancient one and I'll sell the MTB on eBay I think. I'm unlikely to ride it again.
I bought a lovely new oldstyle bullet light for Petunia but the blasted thing won't fit 'cos of the front basket, which is really annoying. I need the basket though. So I'm doodling away on designs for attaching it to the basket instead. Could, I suppose, mount it on the SIDE of the forks rather than under the basket where it won't fit? Note to self: fiddle with that.
But now I've found something I really really really really want. This. I've been trying to turn my bike into something old-fashioned, but when I saw this bike my heart somersaulted. I want it. I'm saving up for it now. While I love Petunia, she's rough and ready, the gears do change by themselves despite regular servicing, and while I adore her for her vintage bike charm, I'd love to have this Rolls Royce of a Velorbis Victoria as well. Not that I'd be riding it to the shops. Around here someone would take chain cutters to the locks and make off with it. So Petunia would still be my shopping ride. You might say there are cheaper bikes around that look a bit old-fashioned, any kind of cruiser would do, but I know myself and know I won't be happy with something cheaper, especially once I've had a test ride of the Velorbis which I plan to in the next couple of weeks. I want a bike that will last me the rest of my life. The Velorbis ticks every box. I researched the Pashley Princess too, but it's only available with 5 gears and I live in a hilly area, and it's several kilos heavier than the Velorbis. See the bit about the hilly area again.
I've started to obsess about bikes. I try and find time every day to nick out on mine even if it's only for ten minutes to the shops. It's healthy. It's getting me fitter and heaven knows I need that, I'm far from fit at the moment. This can only be a good obsession, right? Right? :-)

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