Archives for category: My bike

…when I have such an awesome bike basket…

That’s right, folks – I pimped my basket with a garland of fake roses that I picked up on eBay. It’s not exactly the best way to prove yourself as a serious cyclist, but frankly, I don’t care. Maybe I’ll make someone happy with my silly flowers – who knows?

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Last week I got a call – my bike was ready! Hooray! I picked her up from Cycle World, my handy local bike shop – who were very friendly and helpful.

I decided to pick up a basket at the same time – although I really wanted a wicker one, I’ve got a black wire one at the moment. More waterproof! I also had a Cateye computer installed, which counts calories, carbon emissions (…okay), time, distance, etc.

As you can see, I’ve added a girly bow to my Topeak basket – I couldn’t resist…
Saffy in a basket

It matches my Liix bell!

I have to say, she rides like a dream – I couldn’t be happier.

Well, I finally ordered my Trek Allant WSD from the bike shop – very excited! She’ll be in on Friday in time for the Big Bike Celebration on Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it. I had a test ride yesterday and the saddle is extremely comfortable – although it did have a mark on it. I ended up getting a discount on it because of that, as I figured that the saddle is going to get marked from wear and tear anyway – I guess it gives the bike a bit of character in the meantime.

While I wait for my bike, I’m going to be looking into the somewhat complicated world of anti-theft devices. It seems to me as though there are several steps to this: registering your bike frame, tagging your bike frame, getting insurance, and getting some good locks. My frame is going to be registered at the local bike shop I’m buying the bike from, and I’m also going to register it with the manufacturers as well, but as well as that I’ll be getting it postcoded on Saturday with the local police, and registering it on sites such as Bike Shepherd. Locks and insurance are just as complicated as far as I can see, as you have to make sure your lock is approved by your insurance company, and then in case of theft, report it to the lock company, insurance company and local police, at the same time as gathering evidence of the theft too. It’s really depressing to contemplate my lovely bike being stolen before I’ve even picked it up from the shop, but being prepared is half the battle!

So, I knew I wanted a bike – but which one? Which brand? What kind?

When you get into bikes from zero knowledge, one of the first things you’ll learn is that there are three kinds of bikes – mountain bikes, road bikes, and hybrids. Mountain bikes are easy to spot in the shop, with their super thick tires and sporty frames. Your road bikes are really more like race bikes, designed to get you from A to B as fast as possible – the kind of thing that athletes cycle. You can spot these because of their super-thin tires and aerodynamic bodies. Then, there are the hybrids – the bikes which are good for those who’d like to take their bike to work, and maybe to the forest on a weekend, bikes that straddle between sporty and hardy, the sort of thing that, if you don’t know much about bikes, you’ll naturally gravitate towards right away, like I did.

But then I scratched the surface and realised there was a whole lot more to this hybrid lark than I had originally thought. Sure, all the catalogues had ‘hybrid’ sections, but then again, some bikes were hybrids and weren’t labelled as such. Some bikes were more sporty than they were for road use, some were more for commuting than they were flying through muddy tracks. My life was made a little more difficult because I’d decided to plump for a Trek – as advised by my friends, who both had Treks – and it seemed like a lot of their subbrands were secretly hybrids in disguise. Like the FX range, designed for ‘sporty types’ – which is more on the road end of a hybrid than the mountain bike end, but is never really called a hybrid. There are countless examples of this, but it made my life very difficult. I just wanted a bike I could cycle with my friends, mostly for road use, but which wouldn’t prevent me from cycling on some trails in the forest if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that the bike salesmen in two local shops were less than useful, and not remotely interested in selling any bikes. I won’t name names because I assume they are anomolies of the biking world – people who neither know anything about bikes, nor about selling products. Anyway, I ended up pouring my knowledge of bikes onto them as if to have them validate my experiences so far, whilst they gave me monosyllabic answers and really did nothing to try to help me select a bike. In the first shop, my opening question was about the difference between different bike brands ‘because my friends like Trek so I wondered if you could help me about the differences between the different types’. The guy then proceeded to tell me how great Trek bikes were for several minutes, which really didn’t help. At the second shop, I wanted to know what the difference between the Trek Allant WSD was, and the Trek FX range, and all I got was that the FX was for sports. What does that even mean? Will the FX be acceptable for use in badminton matches or something?

Anyway, in the end I narrowed it down to three bikes from the Trek range.

The Trek 7000 WSD

The Trek FX 7.2 WSD

And the Trek Allant WSD

Now, I have to admit, I had seen an olive green ladies’ bike with leather saddle and wicker basket in the window of my local bike shop a few weeks ago, and felt my heart stir… There’s something about the combination of a sophisticated, restrained green frame and the elegance of a leather look saddle that just really sings to me. But at the time I had the word ‘HYBRID’ in my mind and wasn’t looking for anything else.

Still, I couldn’t get that bike out of my mind, so I decided to ask a few more questions about the Allant, read some reviews, and lust over Google image searches of it, until, finally, I told myself, ‘well, if you like that damn bike so much, why don’t you just buy it?’. To which the reply came, ‘maybe I will’.