Friday, May 9, 2014

Accidental Bike Shopping

I didn't mean to start bike shopping, although I knew I needed to. The bike I currently have (and have been using indoors on a trainer, but haven't taken outdoors to ride) is a children's bike, most likely bought at Sears, at least 15 years ago (the last bike my parents bought me). It's low quality, very old, and very heavy. It worked to at least get me used to sitting on a bike seat. But now that it's spring and I want to re-learn how to actually ride a bike outdoors, I need something better and newer and lighter.

For May's new restaurant of the month, we had dinner tonight at Sambi Sushi. Leaving, I noticed a second hand sporting goods store in the same complex. Abe wanted to check out their discs, and while wandering around spotted a couple bikes! Even the smallest one was still a bit big for me, but it was so lightweight, it got me thinking, and we decided to stop at the two bike shops that were essentially on the way home anyway.

First we went to Bike Gallery. I had gotten the impression from their website that they carried a selection of used bikes, but apparently the Beaverton location doesn't really (just not big business in it, apparently). The sale guy kind of convinced me that bike technology is like computers, though - it improves so quickly that even a recent used bike is behind what you could get new for a reasonable price. They had a few options in the $750-ish range that I wanted to stay under, but none small enough for me (main fit test seems to be standing over the bar with your feet flat on the ground). They're going to call another location to see if they had a smaller one in stock they could bring over later this weekend.

Then, armed with a bit more information from the first conversation, we went to Performance Bike. Based on standing over the bar, the guy helping us suggested a size 42 (the smallest they had in stock was a 44 (I think this is the height of the frame in cm) - I could technically stand over it, but the bar was basically right up in my crotch, and there should be at least an inch or so of clearance). 

The bike he recommended ordering (no shipping if sent to the store and assembled by them) was the Terry Tailwind in 42 with 650 tires (standard tires for road bikes are 700 - my understanding is this is the diameter in mm). Since this isn't "standard" tire size, it might make getting replacement tires or such difficult (they can be ordered, but stores might not have them in stock), but for such a small frame the smaller tires are necessary to keep everything in proportion. It's $1,050, which is more than I wanted to spend, but I'm starting to come around to the idea that it might be necessary. The other option, size-wise, might be to look at kids' bikes, but those are generally going to be lower quality, and even smaller tires.

I know I shouldn't let aesthetics be the deciding factor (though that is how I pick kitchen appliances and electronics), but isn't this a beaut!


Love the teal color so much, and once I realized how few options I had, I was afraid I'd end up with something ugly in order to find something with all the other features I need. I think if I buy this her name will be Annabelle.

Anyone have suggestions on specific brands or models, or general guidance for picking a bike that fits those of us who are vertically challenged? 

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