This weekend saw the other half and I trekking up to town to a fancy bike shop to try out some very fancy bikes. I’ve been spending far too much time drooling over the pictures here (the bikes, not the girls, just in case you get the wrong idea) and fancied getting some of that Copenhagen chic for myself.

The bikes were lovely, in a gliding elegantly around town way, although a combination of a high riding position and wide, wide handlebars made for a rather skittish ride when you’re used to, well, my own bike. And brakes that actually stop the bike rather than squealing at it take a little getting used to. It’s hard to know whether I liked them because they are simply brand new bikes (with gears that work and everything), because they’re gorgeous looking, or because they’re actually a decent and practical bike as well as a bit of a fashion statement. Part of me knows that it’s not a bike I am hoping to buy here, but the whole continental bike-riding lifestyle where everybody cycles along clean open bike lanes and I will instantly look effortlessly well put together and stylish, at least when viewed from the back. So I’m going to try out some more ordinary bikes as well before taking the plunge.

But oh what a difference when I got on my own bike again this morning. What a foot-dragging, leaden ride to the station we had. It could just be the contrast with the shiny new bikes I’ve been trying out at the weekend. Or it could be because it has guessed…

What do you ride?


15 responses to “Disloyalty

  1. What do I ride? Oh my goodness, where do I start. Well there’s the Dawes hybrid daily hack, complete with a “district nurse” style lock for parking outside shops; there’s the “Sunday bike” – a nice Dawes tourer; there’s the Basso road bike – a nice all steel skinny tyred job with a Campagno group set. Not sure why I’ve got that one. I don’t race or time trial so it’s just for fun – it’s so fast I have to look for the engine… Then there’s the Brompton which I used a lot when I was car-free (sadly, redundancy and a new job too far away to cycle and no decent public transport put a stop to that) and used a combination of bike/bus/train. Then there’s the tandem which saw lots of use when my No. 1 daughter was younger and not strong enough for long solo day rides. Then there’s the mountain bike and an old Raleigh road bike waiting for conversion into a fixie. Then there’s the family’s bikes – wife’s hybrid, another tandem for her and No. 2 daughter. Both daughters’ tourers; wife and both daughters’ mountain bikes; my late dad’s 1936 BSA not used since 1976 when he toured the Peak District the year before he died – I can’t bear to part with it. Then there’s a nice restored 1980’s Dawes which No. 2 daughter rode when she was too small for her current machine. That’s it. Oh no, I forgot the wife’s unicycle…

  2. I have a very cheap city bike that came from the supermarket – about 100 Euros – it has wide handle bars – it’s quite an old fashioned style but it gets me around the town. In no sense is it nifty or stylish but it is useful.

  3. I have a Raleigh Hybrid for shopping etc. and despite being a 25 inch frame it has lethal toe clip overlap. It takes a special kind of incompetance to design a bike like that.
    I have a Roberts audax bike that is great but…there is something not quite right about the steering.
    I have a Pinarello Gavia from 1989 which imho represents perfection in steel, lugged frames. Just when they got them perfect they stopped using steel!
    I have a Terry Dolan track bike used exclusively on the track. It is certainly better than my old Harry Quinn track bike from 1960.
    A commuter bike needs most importantly mudguards. Unless the journey is hilly just a single speed freewheel and tyres with a protective breaker strip which may or may not help. There should be a spare innertube,(never a puncture outfit, they are for home use only), tyre levers and pump and the rider should practice using them in the living room. For me brakes are no big issue. Everything but the crappiest side-pulls work fine.

  4. I have one of these


    It is a granny bike. Not at all stylish nor trendy, dynamo lamps, pedal brakes (pedal backwards) – I bought mine for just over 100 pounds exlcuding accessories. If it was stylish or trendy, then it would be much more likely to have been nicked.

  5. I’m not saying. As I’m ashamed that it’s stood in the bedroom for the last *cough cough* years. My not a New Years resolution was to get out on it some this year though.

  6. Hmm I have a very small front garden so I can’t take up bike collecting like Howard and Green Jersey. I agree about the mudguards though. I’m amazed at how many bikes labelled ‘commuter hybrids’ don’t have them. My old workplace was pretty casual but I think they would have drawn the line at mud splattered clothes

    I love the idea of buying a bike in a supermarket. ‘Want a bag for that?’ ‘No thanks, I’ll ride it out…’ (and getting one all in for a hundred quid), but we’re moving somewhere with hills so I think the sit-up-and beg riding position is no go.

    Cha0tic – get on your bike! You know you want to…

  7. Revolution Country Traveller (Edinburgh Bikes own brand) with mudguards and pannier rack. I like the two set of brake levers, so I can sit up in traffic. It was supposed to be for touring, but it’s so much better than my old Giant Cypress (ladies bike, grip shift gears, blegh) so now I commute on it and will need a new shiny road bike for proper rides.
    There’s also an ebay mountain bike intended for riding on landrover tracks to far away mountains – but it’s too small, even for me. I shall have to freecycle it I think…
    Plus my husband’s commuting bike, two road bikes and knackered mountain bike.

  8. aha another collector … I like the Edinburgh Bikes site, I’ve just been looking at their range…

  9. As you know my dodgy knees now preclude me from cycling nowadays sadly. My pride and joy from way back when was a Claude Butler racing bike which I used to cycle to airfields all over south-east England. I also had an everyday bike for school, and then work for a while.
    More recently I had a ride on a custom made upmarket mountain bike which had a Merlin titanium frame and cost well over £2000 !

  10. was it worth the price?

  11. At the time, and I’m talking well over ten years ago,
    it was apparently just about the best there was hence the price.
    I just rode it round the car park where there weren’t any mountains thankfully! The owner rode it competitively, and quite successfully, in Europe and loved it!

  12. I have a small front garden, too. But a large garage where the machinery stays warm and dry.

    The car stays outside.

    Where it belongs.

  13. Glad you’ve got your priorities absolutely straight

  14. So finally and sadly my old faithful bike is being sent to that great landfill in the sky?. I am sure that some one in your local Freecycle (no pun intended) would welcome this lovingly refurbrished antique? Dignified end please

  15. There’s a local pick up point for ‘bikes for Africa’ that I threaten it with on the way to the station every morning. If Africa won’t have it, then freecyclecycle it is.

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