Ipstenu.Org

Birthday Review: Bike

Since moving to California I learned that my old, folding, bicycles are not great. Don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderful machines, they work well, but they’re too heavy for what they are.

I really love my Dahons and I really love how useful they are when my commute was ride – train – ride. But now my commute isn’t that. If I go into the office, it’s drive. Or bus. Or … bike.

So I bought myself a bike for my birthday.

Review

Go back and read the aforementioned issue with heavy bikes. I live at the base of a hill right now. I go up, flat, down, up a little, and then I’m at work. It’s tiring and while my bike has 7 gears, it’s 26.2lbs. The new bike is so lightweight it doesn’t list a weight. Okay, maybe it’s just a little silly, but it doesn’t. It says ultra-lightweight. And it is. I can easily one-hand it.

Electra Loft 7i
I was really looking forward to a zippy, easy to pedal, lightweight bike for what I do. But the adventure to get it was … well. An adventure. The bike wasn’t in stock. It’s not super popular — more people like the 7d, but I wanted the internal shifter which is like having an automatic (the difference is that you can shift gears without pedaling with an internal). I know how to use a derailleur. Most of us do. I just want the ease.

But like I said, it was out of stock at Fullerton Bicycles. I picked them over the other shops because, when I went in to check it out, the guy (Freddy) was patient, understanding, and listened to my wife when she pointed out my knee issues. Then he picked out the bike and explained what he thought I should do.

A month and a half later, circumstances worked out that I no longer had two old bikes cluttering my garage, I had sold odd some tech devices I wasn’t using, and there were other stars that aligned right. I called them up and asked if they had the bike in stock. Now we’re all caught up.

When I talked to them, they said they could order it but they couldn’t take the order on the phone after some fraud issues. I had no issue with this. In fact, I’m happy to do business locally. I want to. I laud it. I love it. I went in after work, ordered the bike, and they were so happy they gave me a discount. I get it. Here’s someone who’s willing to go a little extra for better service, who is happy to do business with people who are cool. This is how you say thank you.

They said the bike would be delivered by the 11th, and on the 13th I picked it up.

Click to see the new bike gallery
It’s an Electra. I call it Dyna Girl.

I started by riding it around my little complex and using Strava to track me on my iPhone. Riding around the complex is about .75 miles if I do a simple loop (which I had not known) so I did two miles easily in 15 minutes. That was a little surprising, but this wasn’t really ‘road’ cycling. The goal I had with it was to get used to how the bike handled in a safe environment where I still had to pay attention but not stress about speed.

That was when I determined I did not want the basket, came back, took it off, and shoved the lock and my kit (tire repair etc) in the zipper bag on the back. I also lowered the seat more so I’m nearly flat footed when the bike is at rest. This is not how people intended the bike to be used, but Freddy suggested it to account for my knee and make mounting/dismounting easier (pro tip: Freddy was right). I also got to test out the bike in the rain. Works great.

After that, I mounted the new lights. I picked up rechargeable USB lights which is hilarious to me, but a great idea. They’re very bright, which I need since part of my ride is on a stretch of iffy lighting. If it’s dusk or dawn, I’ll want them.

Lessons Learned

  1. The basket in front is heavier than the bike. I took it off.
  2. The stepthrough is higher than my old bikes. Queue tripping ala Benny Hill.
  3. Don’t ride in super tight jeans, you are not a hipster (AeroPress aside).
  4. The frame shape makes mounting the bikelock a pain in the ass.
  5. Baby Blue is a cool color. I still wish it was canary yellow.
  6. People still tell me things like “You could bike faster if you had all this gear” and I still don’t care.
  7. Tracking my exercise on the Apple Watch is annoying because I want to use Strava, which doesn’t yet ‘sync’ to the Watch’s exercise tracker.

Rating

[ficon family=FontAwesome icon=star color=gold size=2x repeat=5]

I love it. I biked at least half an hour every day for the first month, then it started being my go to for running to the store, or the barber shop.

This week started ‘Bike home from work every day.’