Wednesday, August 03, 2011

More bike woes

I feel like a peddling version of Goldilocks at the moment. Priscilla is lame, and currently running on a duct-taped frame. GBM's bike is a 'proper' road bike, with actual functioning pedals and breaks and gears and all that convoluted stuff, but it's a boy's bike and that entails actual skill in dismounting. Plus the saddle is horribly uncomfortable, because the manufacturers were counting on cyclists wearing padded shorts, rather than friction-inducing jeans. The spare bike is a) too low on the saddle b) also low on braking ability and c) rickety on the wheels at best. 

So one is too high, one is too low, one is just right... but broken. 

I borrowed a bike for my cycle out to Oudekerk aan der Amstel the other evening, because I was not confident that Priscilla could do a 20km round trip without falling apart. The problem with my friend's bike is that it has back-pedal brakes and further to that, is monstrously heavy. 

I can use back pedal brakes. I stop when I need to stop. The problem is that I am in the habit of NOT using my pedals to stop. Priscilla has handbrakes, so when I'm free-wheeling over the top of a little canal bump, I take great delight in adjusting the pedals backwards to a comfy position (my default = right pedal at base, left at top), and I do the same to get to a comfy starting position from stand still. It doesn't affect my forward momentum. 

These are bad habits to develop before trying to use backpedal brakes. So I'd power the monstrously heavy borrowed bike all the way up and over a canal bridge and then I'd sit back and relax on the downhill... for all of 2 metres, before I unconsciously shifted my feet backwards... and inadvertently slammed on the brakes. And then, because almost all of the monstrous weight sits in the back wheel on this bike, the rear would swing out as its momentum continued despite the brakes kicking in. It was not fun. 

Similarly, from standing position, I'd do my hop-hop-jump start and unconsciously rock my foot back on the pedal to get it into (what is usually, on Priscilla) a better position to pedal from. But in doing so, I'd again inadvertently slam on brakes. Which is kinda counterproductive when you're trying to take off. 

Oh, and at the end of  it all, we chose to park our bikes underground - which entails walking down a flight of stairs while wheeling the bikes next to us on a very steep ramp. Again, with pretty Priscilla, this is no problem - apply handbrakes, stroll down at leisure. But without handbrakes for control and with a (have I mentioned this?) monstrously heavy arse of a bike, it was all I could do to stop myself and/or bike ending up in a tangled pile at the base of the ramp. 

So I want a bike that works, is in one piece, isn't ridonkulously heavy and preferably not one that is more suited for cycling the Argus. Is this too much to ask for?

1 comment:

Bolus said...

Get a Segway... :)