Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vintage Bicycles

For the past 3 years, every spring and summertime I develop a bicycle fever.  I start drooling over pictures of vintage bikes, and romanticizing over riding to the library on my 70's schwinn, with its basket filled with flowers and pannier topped with books.  Seriously, I can look at these bikes forever!   About 3 years ago, I made two purchases fairly close to one another.  I bought an olive green 1950's English 3-speed off of Kijiji (an online selling site), and then not too long after that, I bought a vintage 1970's Red Schwinn.  Both are not perfect and need tune ups.  They came with minor rust, bad brakes, and leaky tires.  But, in the summer of 2009 I put in an attempt to ride my English 3 Speed.

However, let me outline the problems I encountered with biking. 

  1. Vintage bikes are not easy rides.  Their steel frames are heavy, and my bikes in particular were hard to get up to speed, scary to brake, and changed gears awkwardly.  If you're bringing your bike inside your house because you don't have a garage, you better develop some muscles.
  2. You know that phrase, 'It's just like riding a bike!'  Well, because I hadn't been on a bike in like 15 years, I lost my cool.  Gone were the days where I would ride off the sidewalk, and ride down the street without feeling totally anxious about cars.  I used to scoff at wearing a helmet, and now I want to be covered in bubble wrap!
So I admit, the summer of 2009 was short lived and the bikes remained in the basement ever since.  

  (this is not my bike, but a similar replica)

Let's fast forward to now.  Since then, I have moved out of the city and in to a quieter town.  I live much closer to work, to the library and my favourite shops.  There's even a noticeable bike culture in my town!  There's a coffee shop dedicated to bikes, where there are wheels and bike paraphernalia on the walls and people meet up there after they have gone for a ride.  These guys are serious cyclists.  So, here I am again.  Unemployed (oh, the things unemployment will inspire you to do), and it's springtime, and the fever overcame me.  I bought a third bike!

The Trek Navigator WSD 3!

Again, I bought this off Kijiji for I saved a couple hundred dollars because they retail for 650.  I was a bit apprehensive when I bought it though, because I am really fussy about my things being perfect, and I found a few nicks on the frame and such, but I tried to work it out in my head.  I thought perhaps it was better to have a less than perfect looking bike and save some money, rather than buying a new bike because who knows, maybe this bike will end up like my other two.  Basement bound.  However-I'm thinking positive and named this summer, 'The Summer of Biking.'  I am going to hit the trails and work my legs!  Also, if it turns out I really like biking, I can always sell this one down the road and upgrade to something else.

Why the Trek Navigator suits me?

I fell in love with the Trek Navigator for a few reasons.  The aluminum frame is number one!  The bike is lighter, easier to lift, easy to pick up speed.  It is designed for women, and I love the low step frame.  The wheels are thicker, so it kind of reminds me of my mountain bike.  It has front suspension, and the seat is mega cushioney and also has suspension.  It has 8 speeds, which is just enough for me.  It also brakes and changes gears like a charm.  The bike I bought is also set up with a pannier, water bottle holder, front panneier/basket thingey, and a bell.  It is a light steely blue colour.  I highly recommend this bike if you want to look stylish and retro, and have a smooth easy ride.  There are actually lots of modern bikes out there now that look vintage, but have wonderful specs that make riding fun and easy.  Both Opus and Trek have hybrids and recreational bikes that are vintage designs, and some are women specific.  Check them out!  (and maybe start saving because they cost a pretty penny!)

I hope I've inspired you to get your bike out! I'm always so in awe when I see how bikes are utilized in places like Finland or Amsterdam, or when I see people braving the way in downtown Toronto through the city streets. Wow.

1 comment:

  1. I always feel inspired to ride a bike! But I haven't ridden a bike in years :( Right now I live on a crazy road half way up the Niagara escarpment (not bike friendly) and before that we lived in the big city where, well, I was too scared to ride a bike. I keep hoping the whole family will get bikes and we can drive to a trail. I've gotta really start saving my pennies, the Trek Pure and the Opus Ivanna totally make my heart sing! Thanks for sharing!