Yesterday we picked up our new bicycles. We have two cars, both of which we drive a lot less than we used to, each of which is capable of hauling one bicycle. Taking two cars downtown seemed silly. If one of us drove both people downtown and brought back one bike, the other one would get to ride her bike home. That didn't seem fair.

So we decided to take the bus to the bike shop and both ride home on our new bikes. It's a medium-long distance, but there are good bike routes covering almost the entire stretch.


The bus was really cheap. My daughter has a student pass (grad students can have them, too) and when we checked the fares it turned out that city transit considers me a senior. Nice. Sixty cents to get across town.

Here's my daughter's bike:


And here's mine:


With the information from the fitting measurements, we were able to determine why our old bikes had worked for us as well as they did—the top tube lengths were not right but they weren't too far off and the stem dimensions were right on. We were also able to see clearly what the problems were: because the frames were too small, the seat-to-pedal length was a mismatch for me, and a serious mismatch for my daughter (hers was a whole 10 percent too short; mine was about 7 percent off).

We used to have frames of the same sizes (we're within an inch of each other in height, so that seemed logical). Now we don't. In specific bike-related bone measurements (torso, upper leg, shoulders) we're quite different. She was told she has perfect body proportions for cycling.

The shop is (as we figured later) just over 10 miles (16km) by bike path from home. That's enough distance to get a solid feel for how the bikes handle and how we want to work on refining the fit. I'll be back at the shop today and my daughter's going back tomorrow to get the seats and handlebars set up just right. The frames feel great.

In the evening, we biked over to the university's presentation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." To get to the play, I rode my new bike, and my daughter rode her old
bike for the familiarity. That was another 7 miles (11km) or so. I know
what I want to talk to the bike shop about today, but I'm very much
enjoying not having to stop several times on every ride and re-set the
old bike's seat at a higher level (above the safe extension line, and
at a place where it wouldn't stay put).

Now about the play: it was the best performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" I've ever seen. (Our favorite barista at one of the coffee shops where we write did a fantastic job as Titania. Walt Jones directed.) The casting and staging and costumes were all inventive and appropriate.

The play is potentially one of my favorites, and I've seen it in on stage and in films more times than I could count. At the end of the performance, I feel like I've had a good time, compare the recent presentation to others, and yet I have always felt that there was something missing. Not last night. NOTHING was missing.

It was not, obviously, the only way that a fully satisfying presentation of the play could take place (for one thing, it was a short version so it would be "family friendly," although the basics were all there and it was playfully risque). It was, however, an absolute, laugh-out-loud delight. Everyone involved (all volunteers, because funding was cut this year) made magic.

Overall, a great day. Having started it at 6:30 a.m. and ended it at 11 p.m., I even got some work done.


12 thoughts on “Bicycles”

  1. Sounds like a wonderful day! Congratulations on finding just the right bikes, and a bike shop that’ll be there to help you keep them fitting perfectly over time. And on a seeing a great play well done. Can’t ask for much more all in one day….

  2. I see so many people riding around on bikes that don’t fit them. Mostly I see seats that are too low. That’s killer on knees!

    Kudos to y’all for getting decent bikes at a good bike shop. I’ve done most of my own bike maintenance over the years, changing stems and bottom brackets and re-taping handlebars and stuff. It’s pretty fun. And last night I got to fix a broken chain for one of the neighborhood kids. 🙂

  3. We didn’t LOOK like we were on bikes that didn’t fit. And they worked pretty well. We just want to ride even more, and that’s where we started getting picky. . . . Well, that and finding it impossible to keep the seats high enough. . . .

    We haven’t done a lot of maintenance, but we’re the sort who probably will. We’ve just been oiling chains and adjusting seats and the like.
  4. Oh that sounds like a lovely day. I just recently bought a new bike too, mine is a very “upright” bike, and I love it because leaning on the handlebars usually hurts my back. My problem is that most bikes are too big for me, I have very short legs.

  5. First, you are the most unexpected “senior” I’ve seen in a while! Might as well take a discount, I say.

    Brian just got a new bike about a month or so ago. I had to convince him to go for it, but he rides sometimes 120 miles a day and was trying to take parts from 3 bikes in the garage to make one that was “almost” right.

    He loves his new bike (Rivendell Quickbeam). He had done enough research that he was sure that if he got a new bike, that one would please him most. He rides a lot of gravel roads and such, and it’s not very hilly here, so I am guessing those things featured in the decision.

    I’m happy he got his new bike. As for me? I have a late 1960’s/early 70’s Schwinn Suburban 5-speed “girl” bike. It’s as adorable as one can get, and since my commute is 3 miles on flat city streets, it’s just right for me.

  6. We just rode home from the theater on our bikes in a rainstorm. It didn’t get so bad we had to stop, and it wasn’t too cold, so it was kind of fun.

    I have to watch where I’m putting the weight on my hands, and I may do something different with the grips at some point. I have to be careful about my wrists, so I have lots of empathy there! These are sort of halfway-upright bikes.
  7. Rivendell bikes: have just been browsing. Too cool. I think one of those could be easy to love. Congratulations to Brian! I look forward to reports on how it’s going.

    A well-broken in Schwinn sounds like a fine tool, too.
  8. Ooh, shiny nice new bikes! Bikes that fit!
    I am pretty sure my bike is a good fit for me but two years on and I’ve realised the old saddle is horrid! To ride more than 10 miles in a day I need padded knicks. (Our 20 mile ride up the Poudre was agony by the end! LOL) Took me that long to work it out and I ride my bike every couple of days…. Now bike is getting a service and a new saddle. yay!

  9. Yes. Saddles. A challenge. We are swapping them around and trying things out. That was the major problem on my older bike, the one before the one just replaced, which was a Motobecane 10-speed that I liked a whole lot (and may yet refurbish), except for the saddle.

    We are testing two Serfas saddles and one Bontrager. The WTB saddles that came with the bikes are okay for short distances, but that’s not what we end up riding. They’re actually nice saddles, and I think somebody else would like them just fine.

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