onlysmallwings: a person holding a sign reading "Free Hug <3" (Default)
[personal profile] onlysmallwings
Hello! I just purchased my first bike as an adult this Saturday, and I'm really jazzed about riding again. As a kid, I rode all over the place, even to places I was technically forbidden from riding. Then I got a car, and my friends got cars, and my bike vanished. Which was fine, I was very happy with my indoor lifestyle.

Then, last year or so, my friends got into biking and other outdoors activities. And started going to Critical Mass here in Houston. And, since they have three bikes for the two of them, they let me borrow a bike to ride as well. And I remembered how much I enjoy biking.

I did a little research, and took my friend shopping with me, and decided on my GT Aerostream. It's a three speed sport cruiser, and it's a really smooth ride. I fell in love at the shop and it's only gotten deeper as I've ridden it. It's the kind of bike I can ride without needing to change into 'biking gear.' Hell, it came with panniers and a rack. It's like I'm meant to run errands on this thing!

I still need a helmet before I venture out of the neighborhood, and lights, of course, but I'm just so excited to have a bike that I love that is mine all mine! I don't care so much about speed, or, like my friends, ruggedness (that's a real word?), so this really seems like it's going to be a wonderful fit.
giglet: (Default)
[personal profile] giglet
Hi! I've had a bike since I was a teen (which was a few decades ago), but didn't use it much and eventually gave it to a friend gathering bikes for "Bikes Not Bombs". But one day this summer, I couldn't face getting on the bus to go to work, and pulled out a bike abandoned by a former housemate, walked to the corner gas station to pump up the tires, and set off.

It felt wonderful. It felt even more wonderful once I got a helmet and a wider seat. And then lights and a safety vest and a bungee cord to hold stuff on the rack. I've been biking to work about twice a week since then, and I'm hoping to keep going into the winter (here in Boston), although I expect to stop once snow covers the bike lanes. My philosophy is to get to work (and home) alive. Neither speed nor style is particularly important to me.

Money is kinda tight, however, so while I'd love to get a lot of things for the bike, I'm either living without or making it myself. The list changes every couple days, but the things I'd like include:

a chain guard (the chain ate my last pair of jeans yesterday)
a rear bike lever that doesn't require me to stretch really awkwardly to grab it.
a better front light mount. Mine broke the day I bought it. I've wired it on, but it's ugly.
one of those bags that hangs off the back of the seat
spare tube and the knowledge to use it

Some of those things seem like I should be able to make them myself. Any words of wisdom?
damerell: (cycling)
[personal profile] damerell
Hello. My name's David, I never travel by car, I own too many bicycles, I build all my own wheels, and this is way too long.

The bike I got first (bought for me as a teenager in about '91) is what I now think of as my audax bike:

About a decade ago I started commuting 22 miles a day on that bike. I was pretty fit while I was doing that, but largely stopped when I broke my jaw a few years later. I've replaced bent forks and had three cracked downtubes mended on it - the third time, I sent it to a different framebuilder and also had the lower headtube lug replace, and it hasn't happened again - and essentially there is nothing left of the original bike save 2/3 of the frame, two brake levers, and one of the gear shifters.

I still think of it as the audax bike even though I've stopped riding audax for the time being. I've ridden a 300; I've ridden four 200s in the same month; but I'm not actually convinced I enjoy it... apart from the 100km London Sightseer, which is like nothing else (the routesheet is longer than that for the 1400km London-Edinburgh-London). My friend [personal profile] tajasel likes to ride tandem, and the main reason I don't like riding audaxes is riding alone and going quietly mad (mp3 player notwithstanding), so perhaps that'll pick up again.

I don't know what to do with this bike, short of getting another job 11 miles away. It's fast (not like some carbon-fibre confection, but like a practical gentleman's light tourer) and a pleasure to ride, but too precious to take 2 miles and lock up when I could just use my oldest bike...

... my oldest bike is the Triumph, a Raleigh back from when Raleigh had bought up a number of other names and released bikes with their names on. It's probably from about 1970, but who knows? I've had a chainguard put on it since this photo, but:

The original hub was shot, so I stuck on a Sturmey-Archer S5; the original BB was shot, but the late great Sheldon Brown suggested you could have it rethreaded to modern spacing, and it worked; the original front brake bolt wouldn't fit a headlight, but I bought a newer bolt from a bike shop in spite of them insisting it wouldn't fit, and it did. I did the Dunwich Dynamo (overnight 180km ride to a sunken village on the coast) on this bike with an acquaintance on her penny-farthing (made for her by the great and not-late Joff Summerfield of round-the-world penny-farthing fame) and I also got a bucket of rivets and studded some tyres up to ride in the ice and snow:

However, mostly I ride a Brompton - given the difficulty of taking non-folding bikes on trains in the UK and that I have a partner halfway across London, I suspect I ride more on the folder than every other bike combined. I don't have a photo of that but hell, it's a Brompton, they all look the same. Mine is only unusual in that when the seatpost used to slip down (as they do) [personal profile] ses spilled a lot of stout on it, and even after every trace of the sticky coating was gone, it didn't slip anymore. Years later I bent the seatpost riding down a slope that turned out to be stairs-slope-stairs-slope and so forth (it caught me by surprise and there was nothing to do but point the bike down the centre, get off the saddle, and try not to have a prang) and I immediately coated the replacement with stout.

The only bike I've had stolen is a Brompton. Since then (insurance replaced it) I never take a lock with me if I'm on the Brompton. If you do, you might be tempted to lock it up and not take it with you. I've done a 200km audax on the Brompton - at 150km or so, I said "fucking hell, never again" - and I was beyond thaxted [1] afterward. Later that year I did the Dunwich Dynamo on the Brompton and at 150km or so said to myself "a) fucking hell, never again b) remember this time, David". I also took it touring this year in Switzerland - via the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig - but since I was with my parents who are a tad older, the distances were not excessive, although I was a bit alarmed to find myself doing 38mph downhill on a clown's bike _and_ being dropped by my dad.

I also own a tandem. My friend Robin and I bought it on ebay for 350 quid in 2004 from a chap who lived 2 miles away; we literally went over there after work and handed him a brown envelope full of money as if we were bribing a Tory. We got it to do the Land's End to John O'Groats, and I've never regretted it:

Since then I've had it fitted with S&S couplings and repainted (in British Racing Green, obviously), but I've got no photos of that. I use it a bit these days; one of my inamorata has a bad back, and her pain per unit time is roughly constant whether she's walking at 2.5mph, riding her bike at 10mph, or riding the tandem at 20mph.

Oh, and there's a frame and parts and a back wheel in the bedroom (presently there are also two bikes in the bedroom) with "fixed gear?" written on them, but I'm too lazy to put them together.

[1] All audax rides in Essex go through the village of Thaxted, which is obviously therefore at the top of a hill. Ben and I came to use "thaxted" to describe an intermediate state of tiredness, more tired than tired but less tired than...

... well, the story has it that a British and a French rider were riding together in the Paris-Brest-Paris, and the Brit enquired of the other chap if there was a more emphatic expression for tiredness than "tres fatiguee" - the normal idiom is "crevee" but that also means "punctured" so is no use in a cycling event.

The Frenchman turns to him and says "Oui, monsieur! C'est 'fuerked'!".

So "thaxted" is between "tired" and "fuerked".
woldy: (umbrella)
[personal profile] woldy
I just joined this community, so I thought I'd come over and say hi.

At the moment I have three bikes, which strikes me - though probably not most people - as a reasonable and moderate number (I once met a guy with 11 bikes!). First there's my road bike, which is a Norco racing bike that I've made a bit more practical by adding a rack & fenders. I use it for commuting all year in the Pacific Northwest, so it gets a lot of abuse from the elements.

My Norco also gets a lot of abuse from the atrocious state of the roads in this city, so my front wheel rim was dented by a shoddily built resurfacing of a bike route that caused several accidents in the week before they rebuilt it (despite acknowledging that the surface was dangerous, the city refused to pay for a new wheel), and I recently broke a spoke on the back wheel. Oh for a city where 'bike route' doesn't mean an obstacle course of potholes, gravel, cracked uneven concrete blocks, and of course drivers who run red lights. But I digress.

Then I have 2 mountainbikes: a big bike for doing downhill and freeride, and a little bike for things that are more cross-country. The big bike is a Specialized SX Trail (yes, I have red rims & I love them) and it's pretty heavy, but great to ride on technical downhill :-). The little bike is a Marin Mount Vision that is 10 years old, although a few parts (including the front shock) have been replaced along the way. I mostly ride the mountainbikes in the summer, but they've had their fair share of riding in the rain, slush, and snow.

It sounds like there aren't many mountainbikers here, but it's nice to meet a bunch of fellow cyclists :-)

temve: (Batty)
[personal profile] temve
So, um, you've seen me in comments... I suppose an introductory post is in order, right?

Actually, one look at my bike should give you a pretty good impression: just like me, she's German, heavy, practical, streetwise, low-maintenance unless you demand sporty things of her, and, well... a girl :)

Meet Puddlejumper. )

Intro post!

Apr. 8th, 2010 02:43 pm
rivenwanderer: (Default)
[personal profile] rivenwanderer
Hello! I've been bicycling for the last 6 or 7 months. I bike the (totally walkable) .7mi to work each day to keep in practice, and go for longer rides on weekends or in the evenings when I want to see friends in the next town over and that sort of thing. My bike has panniers on it, so if I decide to do errands on the way home from work, I can carry stuff home easily.

My purple Electra Townie, next to my girlfriend's Dutch bike )

The stickers are reflective, though it's not in an area that needs a lot of visibility help--it's mostly just for fun. (They're from

My girlfriend's been biking in the city since childhood, so I think of her as the "real" bicyclist and myself as the dorky "new kid" (though both of us are more Clever Cycles types than either fixies or spandex). It can be tricky to bike together because she tends to be more aggressive about interacting with traffic. Anyway, I love my bike--the upright position and intended-to-have-a-foot-on-the-ground geometry, the balance between speed and hauling capability, and of course the fact that it's purple :)

We're hoping to bike to a pick-your-own berries farm later this summer--it's 12.5 miles away, which is easily 3 times the farthest distance I've ridden (though it looks like the terrain will be relatively easy). How much should I freak out about practicing riding for farther distances to get ready? Will just a few trips to 6-miles-away destinations be enough practice? (How do people usually describe bike trips, anyway? Do you talk about the distance away that the place you're going is (e.g. 12.5mi), or the length of the total round-trip (e.g. 25mi)?)
killing_rose: Abby from NCIS asleep next to a caf-Pow with the text "Goth Genius at Work" (Abby)
[personal profile] killing_rose
This is Hunk o' Junk, lovingly referred to as Hunk. Amazingly, my school bike, which is 15 years old if it's a day and looks (and usually handles) like a POS bought at Walmart, pisses me off a lot less. And, other than adding air to its poor tires, is worlds less fussy.

The first is a cleaner, mildly newer version of Hunk; the second is a vaguely blurry comparison of where my hips come up to on him. I'd have just added in the images, but I was having Issues with that today.

Hunk is a Diamondback Mountain Bike, a 26" Topanga. I ended up with him by accident last year; I was actually in the middle of transitioning to a road bike and wound up with him instead. He is a wonderful, wonderful bike. He's just...well, he's not the bike for me. When I call him Hunk o' Junk, it's more out of frustration because we are Not Bicycle Soulmates. My last two mountain bikes, both Schwinn bikes, were the right weight and height for me. Hunk is definitely not.

Hunk is not made for a 5'2", 130 pound female. He really isn't made a petite female who's riding him as an everyday bike in lieu of buying a car. But I got him for mostly free because he's on permanent loan from my 5'10", 170+ pound brother who stopped riding him when he bought a car. I really should buy a new bike that fits me, but I'm trying to hold off until graduation. (And then I have my eye on a folder.)

Hunk is nice for the off-trail biking I do in the summer, holds up well to the "oh look--three feet of snow and ice, but it's 46* and everyone should be outside!" thing that's occurring right now, and handles well when I decide that biking down a 70 or 80 degree hill is fun.

At the same time, I've wound up twisting an ankle, slammed into a tree, and nearly ended up in a lake. He may be great for off-trail, but he's not the best at dodging dogs and children on some of the trails. To say nothing of how persnickety his gears can be, which isn't helpful when I slam on the brakes to avoid a moose or the Wildlife Of The Day. He's too heavy and huge for me, and biking on him two days ago reminded me of that.

Besides which, I have never encountered a bike who is this particular about his tires. If you don't fill him up at the gas station, I swear to god, he sulks. Really. I can't make this up.

(And besides, I want a bike with fenders next time. I don't actually appreciate being mud-spattered and/or drenched on the really fun weather days.)

On the other hand, when I finally replace him, I will have to compare different models. This means that I will actually have to acquaint myself with the local bike shops. Grr. There are only two or three places in town, and I haven't really heard fabulous things about any of them.

uhhuhlex: Me posing by my isight with new glasses. (Default)
[personal profile] uhhuhlex
Since [personal profile] darkemeralds noted that my bike hasn't been introduced I thought I'd take this opportunity to extol the virtues of Doolittle, my folding bike.

I bought Doolittle on ebay, second hand from a man living in a town not too far away. This man bought it for his wife who rode it around the park once before putting it in the garage. I got a friend to drive me out of pick my beauty up (and snorted a little as the 'I *heart* my bicycle' stickers on the mudguards). To buy this model new it is about £225, but mine was a real steal at £89 virtually new.

Read on for photos and folding bike perving.Read more... )
iamnaiad: (Default)
[personal profile] iamnaiad
I'm absolutely terrible at these intro posts, but here it goes anyway.

I commute to work about 4 days a week on a Giant Upland SE with panniers stuffed to the limit with work clothes, lunch and other essentials I can't live without on a work day.  I've only been commuting for about 9 months, and works means that I sometimes can't ride for weeks, but in that time my fitness has improved astronomically.  The first few rides were full of huffing and puffing and a lot of pushing my bike up hill.  Since then I've found that one of the most satisfying things about riding regularly is realising that I'm now going up the same hills in increasingly higher gears.

My next goals are learning how to maintain my bike properly (does anyone have links to good books or online guides for do-it-yourself maintenance), riding five days a week and going on some social rides with a club.  I'm also thinking about a getting new bike some time in the next six months.  I'm suddenly finding that I want my hands to be about 6 inches further forward than they are and think something closer to a road bike might be more suitable.  

So that's me.  I'm glad to have found this community and look forward to reading what you all have to say.
copracat: Part of an illustration of a lady on a bike (Treadly)
[personal profile] copracat
Bicycle was my main transport when I was university and then in my early working days. It was affordable! I stopped when the commute to a new job was through some very non-bike-friendly city traffic. Times have changed in 15 years and my city is now trying to make the city much more bike friendly so I'm having another go.

I bought myself an Electra Townie a week ago because it was suggested to me as a great bike for people with knee problems and I'm recovering from a knee injury. I tried one out and fell in love immediately.

I've been having a little ride around the flat streets of my suburb after work this week. Today was the first time I took her out for a run. I did a long, mostly flat, very low gradient loop taking in the bike paths near my house and I'm just exhilarated. I cycled with families and with people going places. I could smell the sausages on the bbq as I rode past a school fete (Note: always take your wallet when you go for a ride). I could feel the autumn sun and the fresh breeze and hear people and birds and dogs as I came through the park.

I can't believe I forgot how wonderful bicycling is. And my knee doesn't hurt!
roadrunnertwice: Joe and bike, at top speed. (Bike - Liftoff (Yehuda Moon))
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
Hi! I'm Nick, a city boy with a wee twenty-some-year-old Schwinn Worldsport rekitted into a single-speed. It is light, it is fast, it is resilient, it doesn't look particularly theftworthy, it is a ridiculous teal color, its name is Brigadelle, and it is the only bike that has ever truly fit me like a glove. It is my Epic Mount.

I like to tl;dr about learning how to repair and maintain crap, because learning how to repair and maintain crap is awesome. For example: I learned how to do basic wheel truing last week! Vulcan logic dictated that I ride around on the train both ways at rush hour carrying a naked bicycle wheel. )


Mar. 14th, 2010 08:34 pm
princessofgeeks: (Carter Bangs by lexkitten)
[personal profile] princessofgeeks
I biked a lot twenty years ago when I was in college and was very in shape. Am trying to rediscover it now, mostly with kid friendly recreation. My husband is an avid mountain biker, way more in shape and way more of a daredevil than I, but even given the widely differing capacities of the four of us, we do enjoy biking together on easy trails.

Alas, we can't bike to work (I have a 20-mile commute, he has a 35-mile commute) but I'm trying to make more time for biking and I love hearing about it and thinking about it.

I've done road riding and trail riding, but nothing scary or technical. And I'm very out of shape, but biking is something I've always loved and have many happy memories built around.

Right now I have an old rebuilt Proflex that is so easy to ride. The kids have decent bikes too. Hubby has both a road bike and a mountain bike.

so, hi!
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
I hope it's okay for me to introduce myself as a new member of the community. If not, please let me know. [personal profile] executrix just pointed me here. Dreamwidth keeps surprising me with its wealth.

I'm [personal profile] darkemeralds and I commute four miles each way to work and home 100% of the time on my cruiser style bike here in Portland, Oregon USA.

Meet Clyde )
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
Hi there! Nobody else seems to be running a cycling comm on DW, so I suppose I will.

I've been bicycling since my dad and I spent a Saturday morning skinning my knees at a parking lot when I was four, and bike commuting fairly regularly since I was eleven; I've had protracted love affairs with a little red Bianchi, an embarrassing number of Schwinns, and a Peugeot mixte. These days I ride a Trek 520 touring bike and my daughter and I ride a Bike Friday Family Traveler custom tandem, which we bought earlier this fall when she started school. There are little bits of bicycles all over my garage. After many years of bike commuting, I completed my first two half-centuries this past summer, and I'm hoping to do some bike camping next summer with my daughter on our tandem.

I'm a great believer in helmets and, having grown up riding hand-me-down family touring bikes, am old-school about things like steel frames and friction shifting (bar-end shifters still seem sort of radical and extreme!) That said, the tandem is an untraditional little beast and a great ride.

I switched over to a Brooks saddle this last summer and can't say enough good things about it. I don't worry much about weight versus comfort; I've always thought it was easier for me to lose weight than it is for me to lose equipment, which means that I go out on Saturday mornings with a pannier bag with a map, a toolkit, and a lot of snacks, and the speedy folks whiz past and I think, hmm, at the top of this hill I will stop and have a sandwich and maybe make a phone call and watch the alpacas. A speed demon I am not.

I encourage you to introduce yourself and share about what you do with and like about your self-powered machines, whatever they are! And I live in Eugene, capital of interesting bikes, so I particularly want to extend a welcome to folks riding nontraditional bikes. I love my old-fashioned touring bike, but I'm in awe of the guy I see each day who commutes in his hand-cranked Quickie tricycle.


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