temve: Artichokes on a tea towel (Default)
[personal profile] temve posting in [community profile] bicycles

You see, thanks in no small way to [personal profile] ell, I've been riding regularly for the last 3 years now - I commute the 8 miles to work and back every day except in the depth of winter, and have come to rely on my bike to get around town, eschewing trains and buses except when the weather's really crap or I'm, say, wearing a floor-length dress. Also, once a month or so there's the occasional 3-hour tour along the river trail to see friends, fireworks, or whatever else happens down there.

And I've done all this on a sturdy, reliable workhorse bike of the kind that you see millions of in European cities. First because I thought that's really all I'd ever aspire to, and then because it was damn handy and easy to ride in a skirt or with 30 pounds of shopping in the panniers.

But something happened in those 3 years... I got better at riding. And faster. And wanted more gears and a lighter bike for fun fast spins, a bike that would still not balk at being fitted with a rack and taken on a multi-day tour (my long-term goal is to do the Berlin-to-Møn ride one day - I've already seen the Danish end of that, and the area north of Berlin is supposed to be gorgeous, but I digress).

In short, I wanted a touring bike with road bike delusions. And, well, it turns out that apparently nobody else in this country wants that, because you cannot for love or money get that sort of thing ready-made.

You'd end up falling either into the trekking bike category that has mountain bike gears and big tyres, front suspension and full lighting and is heavy and rides like rubber - or you'll end up looking at road/racing bikes, which are not exactly comfy position-wise and come with drop handlebars that are a no-no for me because they make me feel less in control (result of an accident at age 14 that had me smash face-first into the road: my head must be higher than my arse when on a bicycle or else I get uncomfortable mentally as well as physically). Also, there are no factory-made entry-level road bikes in Germany - road bikes are about as much of a niche market here as BMX bikes, and everyone rides mountain bikes whether they live in hilly areas or not.

So, after much fruitless searching of websites and bike shops, I took my story to a local bike shop that does custom bikes. They listened, nodded, put me on one, and I squeed.

And so, over several evenings and test-rides, began the story of Tem's Beautiful Bastard Bike. Seriously - the bike shop owner (who, incidentally, turns out to be a multiple national road-race champion and still doesn't look down his nose at city-bike users like me. Or for that matter, middle-aged ladies looking for electric bikes) didn't know what to put as a caption on the finished list of specs because there is no word for the bike I'm going to end up riding.

In the end, he called it a "Fitness Cross Randonneur 105 Flat-Bar". I suspect I will end up calling it Randy.

So, in about four weeks' time, I will be the proud owner of a touring bike made to my size, with Shimano 105 road-bike gearing (yay high gears!), flat handlebars with cute and very comfy integrated bar ends, non-bondage pedals, and a definite willingness to hop up on my shoulder when I have to walk up the four fligths of steps across the bridge at Eddersheim Locks because she's light!

Oh, and she's emerald green. :)

Date: 2010-07-29 06:42 pm (UTC)
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
From: [personal profile] sara

I had similar challenges buying a touring bike in the U.S. a couple of years ago -- I ended up buying a Trek 520 and changing out half of what was on it and am still not entirely content, and suspect that my next single bike will be a custom (the tandem I ride with my kid is a custom, and you really can't beat the fit).

Date: 2010-07-29 06:46 pm (UTC)
forthwritten: a bike painted on the ground to indicate a cycling path and a person lying on the ground pretending to ride it (cyclist)
From: [personal profile] forthwritten
She sounds lovely! Photos when you get her, please :)

Date: 2010-07-29 07:41 pm (UTC)
jae: (evoxgecko)
From: [personal profile] jae
I second that request! I know something of the joy of getting a custom-built bike.


Date: 2010-07-29 08:20 pm (UTC)
melusina: (Default)
From: [personal profile] melusina
Sounds gorgeous!

Date: 2010-07-29 09:16 pm (UTC)
aedifica: Drawing of a bicycle with the logo "Put the fun between your legs." (Bike fun)
From: [personal profile] aedifica
Ooooh! Very exciting.

Date: 2010-07-30 04:10 am (UTC)
vlion: cut of the flammarion woodcut, colored (Default)
From: [personal profile] vlion
As they say elsewhere




bicycles: Cyclist on a red clockwise spiral background, text reads "Bicycles!" (Default)
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