Living close to work I’ve been thinking for months about the idea of biking to work during the cooperative months in Seattle (July to September.) So in June I began researching. What I needed was a ‘trek’ bike or a mountain bike. A trek bike is like a modified mountain bike geared towards a more urban setting. A few weeks ago I got sized at a bike shop, he said I needed a 59cm bike. But what I realized was that the seat was raised a fair bit on that bike, he let me test ride. So it was great to realize a 59cm bike would work for me, but also that I actually needed a bike even bigger.
So I set up a Craigslist search and checked it daily for a few weeks. What I ended up finding was a used 61cm mountain bike. I met the seller in the parking lot of a Home Depot and gave it a ride, it was in great condition. They had bought it for their 6’3″ daughter to use for getting around her college campus but she wasn’t into it so they were selling it to recoup some of the cost.
Now, I haven’t ridden a bike in over a decade. Almost two decades in truth. But, as they say, it’s just riding a bike. Once I got home I took a quick ride and it came back to me. But, one thing I’ve realized is that when I biked in Florida, gears on my bike were largely superfluous. Like, 100% superfluous. I used them thinking I was gaining a huge advantage on the mole hills I might bike over.
On bikes here in Seattle, gears are critical. So I’ve had to relearn to ride the bike and properly manage the gears, and in truth I’m still coming to grasp how they are used.
Today I took my first “sizable” ride, a test ride from the house to my office. I put sizable in quotation marks because it was a four mile ride, that’s all. Serious bikers will regularly put 20+ miles a day on their bike. My bike did good and my gear management was definitely improved from where it was just a few weeks ago.
The ride went well and I had no real issues except for one…
I confirmed today that even twenty years later, I am still unable to jump my bike’s front wheel up onto a four inch curb.
Here’s how I know:
Raw skin from a minor knee scrape. I took a fall and did a roll as I hit the ground but not before scraping my knee.
Biking is very fun and it’s a tragedy that so few people keep doing it once they get to be car-aged. I’m very much looking forward to returning to a world of biking frequently.
Two of my siblings, Adam and Jessica, are both avid bicyclers, using them to commute to work and run errands. But they both live in the South where the world is flatter (albeit frequently hotter.) Renton isn’t the most bike friendly part of town, but there are bike lanes and wide sidewalks.
In my seeking for bicycling knowledge, in case you are curious, let me drop some links for you:
- SheldonBrown.com – Your first stop resource, a veritable bible when it comes to biking in any form.
- /r/bicycling – Reddit’s primary biking subreddit. Lots of good stuff here.
- /r/bikewrench – A subreddit focused on bike repair and work. Great resource for when things break.
- Seattle Bike Blog – If you’re in the Seattle area this blog is a great resource to follow.