Monday, August 16, 2010

My New Bike!

Late last year I mentioned that I was entertaining the thought of buying a new (additional) bike. I saved some money and had enough saved by the time spring rolled around. Here's a report from Quicken with my bike money fund:

Bike Fund

That money has just been sitting in my savings account but I never took the time to look for a bike. Then, last Sunday, as luck would have it, while I was cycling on the west side of Manhattan - (something I never do, I'm not a fan of the west side and pretty much avoid it) I happened to pass a huge bike shop called Hub on Charles St. And something immediately caught my eye - it was that amazing Yakkay helmet that one of my readers pointed me to months ago! I loved that helmet from the minute I first saw it online but had no idea where to buy it. And suddenly here it was, right in front of me. I tried it on and after some internal dialogue, where I ultimately justified the purchase, I bought it.

On my way out, I saw a bike that I loved instantly. It was a beautiful baby blue 7 speed bike by Biria. I asked a few questions about it, then left there with my helmet. But I couldn't stop thinking about that bike. I knew I had my $$ saved for a bike and thought about it for a few days. When I couldn't think of a reason to NOT buy it, I finally decided that was the one. That was the bike. And on Thursday, I picked it up from a shop called Velo in Union Square.

Here I am, right before leaving the shop (with my awesome new helmet):

My new bike! Happy birthday to me!

I bought this bike without even test-driving it first. I figured why bother? No matter what, it wouldn't feel right and I'd buy it anyway. So, after a brief tutorial on how to ride a bike with gears and how to use hand brakes, I left the shop, bound for Brooklyn.

From the second I started riding everything felt so completely different that it was absolutely terrifying. The weight of the bike was obviously a huge change, it felt so light. The tires are so narrow that balancing felt weird.  The seat and handlebars are in a totally different place, completely changing how I sit on it. And the hand brakes are just - well - very disorienting to say the least. Every time I had to stop, I pressed backward on the pedals only to have them keep spinning instead of stopping me. It scared the crap out of me every time.

That ride home was the scariest bike ride I've ever had in NYC in my 3 years of riding. It took me nearly an hour to get home (it would normally take 30 minutes from there). And I was just so uncertain and uncomfortable the entire time. I realize it's a new bike but it's so different that I just can't imagine how long it's going to take me to get used to it.

I expected to fly up the Williamsburg Bridge, based on comments from people about how much harder it is to ride a cruiser up a hill like that. But no matter what gear I was in, it didn't feel drastically different/easier/faster.

I took her out again the next night after work - just for a short spin around my neighborhood to try to get used to her a little bit. The first thing I did was brought her to B's Bike Shop and checked the tire pressure. Turns out the rear tire was only inflated to 15!!!! (it should have been 60-75), so that could be why the bridge ride didn't seem so different. I inflated both tires to the right pressure and while I was there, I was bombarded with questions from the B's staff and other cyclists who recognized me and were shocked to see me without the cruiser. So let me address those points here too, since so many of you have asked about the new bike and what this means for the Hello Kitty Cruiser...

First I'll tell you what I told Andre (my favorite employee at B's): Riding a new bike is like being with a new lover - all the parts may be the same, but they're a slightly different size and shape; they don't feel quite the same and I just have to get used to them. But even when I'm used to this bike - I am NOT getting rid of the cruiser! Ever! I love that bike! She and I have such a special bond and I am so comfortable on her that I would never, ever get rid of her! She's still going to be my main bike. I'm only going to use this new bike for distance - I figured for 100 plus mile tours. For everything else, like my usual biking around the hood, around Manhattan, tours, errands, meeting up with all of you - I will still be using the cruiser.

So I hope that addresses all your concerns and questions. In the meantime, you'll sleep soundly knowing the Professor is guarding both of my bikes:

The Professor guards my bikes

The only drawback is that the apartment is getting awfully crowded! :)

32 comments:

  1. I can't think of a healthier or better goal present! I can't ride a bike. I crashed face first into a brick planter when I was learning at 9 and I never got on a bike again. This post made me wish I could! :(

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  2. i loved meeting the hello kitty cruiser! and this new bike is awfully sexy. good grief. can you imagine it as a man?!

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  3. Love the new bike! :)

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  4. Congrats on the new family addition missy! You seriously inspire me to be a better me, not even a man can do that :) Thank You for being so damn special.

    Congrats on the WW Lifetime Award - Keep it up. You look fan-tab-ulous!

    XOXO
    Yours Truly

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  5. wow! what a nice bike (and cool helmet) I know...I used to ride a 10 speed and now I refuse to ride anything else...it took me forever but I found one. I was so happy it was a bit silly...it was even red. Glad you aren't kicking your old bike to the curb. loyalty is a good thing.

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  6. How cool of you to own 2 gorgeous bikes and have them live *in* your New York apartment. It never ceases to amaze me how life in NY is so incredibly different to life in Chinchilla, Qld, Australia.

    *One day*, when I eventually make it to New York, I would sure love to meet you Sheryl.

    Enjoy your new bike. Do you have a name for it yet?

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  7. Your new bike is so purdy, I can imagine how strange it feels after you've rode your Hello Kitty bike for so long.

    I want to say a huge thank you to you as you have inspired me to get a bike of my own - you always look like you're having so much fun when you're out on your bike and now I've moved a little further away from where I work, it's the perfect transport to get me there and back.

    *mwah*

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  8. Cute new bike Sheryl. I know how you feel I love my bike too. I can't imagine getting a new bike. Have fun riding it.

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  9. I love both of your bikes, excellent choices!

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  10. Your bikes look so sweet together in that pic!
    It's a fantastic new purchase - congrats! I know what you mean about having two bikes - I've got a Schwinn Cruiser that is lighter and nippier than my Paul Frank Nirve, both single speed though, I haven't managed gears since I was a kid. I can't believe you clock up all those miles on your Kitty, as I've said before .. those Nirve Cruisers are tanks! You'll be really flying now girl ;-)
    I've just put my Paul Frank on eBay - I don't ride it often enough and favour my Schwinn most days .. won't stop me buying another tho!

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  11. My first thought was for your hello kitty cruiser..."oh no! what about the cruiser!". She's become a personality. But the new bike makes perfect sense. Enjoy.

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  12. Love the new addition to the family! You most definitely deserve it! Enjoy & be safe! :)

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  13. The bikes look so precious together! They remind me of a grade school romance. :)

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  14. I really enjoy biking most over any other activity but I rarely do it because my bike is just not comfortable. You have convinced me it time to give it and look for a new one. I'm going to have a huge yard sale to raise money for a new bike. Enjoy yours

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  15. Wow, I cannot even imagine riding a bike that had hand brakes, different speeds/gears! Good for you! I hope it breaks in quickly & you love it!!

    LPM

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  16. A crowded apartment is a small price to pay for 2 sexy bikes! I love my bike, too, but my derailleur is messed up so it's a single speed for now. I don't know how you manage w/o gears, but I think you'll appreciate them in time. <3

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  17. Hey congrats on the new bike. I got my first bike in more than 20 years in April, and have been knocking out the miles on it. It took me a little time to get used to it also. And some time to get used to that seat...OY! Enjoy.

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  18. I cant believe it!!!!!!! Im glad HK wont be underused now that you've expanded your family.

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  19. after my fabulous old vintage cruiser was stolen (fuckers), i adopted a 37-year-old schwinn suburban, which also weighs in about 50 pounds. got a new schwinn for mother's day this year and after getting used to the serious weight change, i LOVE IT. still have the suburban, though, and always will. :)

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  20. Cute bike. Gosh, it's been ages since I've ridden one. There's just no space to store one. :(

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  21. Awwww .. congrats! She(he?) is beautiful!

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  22. OMG the picture of the professor with the bikes is HILARIOUS!! He's such a pretty kitteh!

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  23. Hey love your blog. Congrats on the new bike!

    Just a little tip some times new bikes need there first tune up so all the gears shift properly etc.

    I thought I was going crazy when my new bike was so hard to ride...it just needed a tune up.

    Also make sure you get bike greese and chain cleaner so you can keep your baby sparkling:)

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  24. My bike is blue, too! With flowers! She's a 21 speed but I only ever use the bottom 7. Her name is Gladys. My daughter named hers Unice and she pretends it's a unicorn. :)

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  25. I accidentally stumbled across your blog and must say you are truly an inspiration. Love your fashion sense too!

    L.Grant, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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  26. Girl, that bike is slamming (though I am partial to light blue bikes)! There's a learning curve with any new bike as you adjust to the geometry; I'm sure you'll love it, especially for longer rides. I adore the matching fenders, racks and partial chain case. And you look fantastic with it. Many thrilling rides await you two, I'm sure. Congrats!

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  27. Summer - that's pretty much what sold me. And thanks for the encouraging words. I know it's just a matter of time.

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  28. Congratulations on the new bike! Very glad to see it. Please don't be discouraged by it's differences. It is built fore more performance and less comfort than Kitty. Break her in little by little. In time, you'll learn how to make use of the gears and the other features. Kitty will then feel out of place. You'll learn to embrace both and be able to choose when you want to ride the speeder or fixie!
    Good Luck and Enjoy!

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  29. I absolutely ADORE your blog and I am so blown away by the joy radiating from your face! Your new bike is a beauty. I even ordered up a darling helmet. I am going to ROCK that helmet, honey. And anyone who can achieve what you have already achieved will be kicking the ass of those handbrakes in no time.

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  30. <3 your bikes! you've inspired me...i think i will have to go look for a cruiser!

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  31. I love your new bike! You are an inspiration. I have long been wanting to lose weight, but I haven't really found the drive within to begin this long journey. But I don't want to miss out on so many things in my life anymore. I am happy to have found your blog.

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  32. Congrats on the new bike & helmet! I hope you grow to love the new bike! Its sad when you buy soemthing and it dosen't live up to your expectations, but then you did say you have to get used to it!

    Oooh Professor! I didn't know you had a cat! I love my boys dearly and they do a great job sleeping... I mean protecting as well!

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