It’s easy to under estimate how confusing the world of bikes has become – until you put yourself in the discomfort zone.
My wife wants a new bicycle because the one she currently owns weighs about a metric tonne and rides like it’s built from random bits of scaffolding. Of course, this is all very reasonable and makes a great deal of sense – the problems began when she asked for my help.
The thing is, I pride myself on knowing a thing or two about bikes; knowing the difference between a fixie and a single speed, that spending money on good wheels is a worthy investment and the benefits and drawbacks of steel, aluminium and carbon frames. But assign me the task of seeking out the best woman-specific bicycle, and I’m like a race snake out of Lycra.
Researching woman’s bikes made me emphasise with those people who are relatively new to the sport in general, and have yet to form their own opinions. Town bike or hybrid? Woman specific or woman friendly? Hub gears, three gears or 21 gears? Pendleton, Pashley or Pinarello? Exotic or pragmatic?
<rant>WHILE I’M THINKING ABOUT THIS, WHY DO SO FEW MANUFACTURERS IN THIS PARTICULAR NICHE RELEASE THE WEIGHTS OF THEIR BIKES? </rant>
So it is that after many hours of internet research, my wife and I are left more confused than ever, mulling over the benefits of a practical hybrid versus the chic allure of a Pashley. Wondering how the latter will cope with a lumpy park ride and where to keep the baguette, flowers and bottle of wine on the former.
The problem is, I’m not sure that my wife’s ideal bike actually exists because, essentially, what she wants is a bike that is light enough to move with ease, comfortable enough to actually want to ride it, funky enough to maintain her street-cred, pretty enough to suit a flowing dress and fast enough to beat me up a hill.
A quick visit to our local Evans certainly didn’t help, a conversation with one of their sales representatives actually hindered our search; and a quick visit to Twittersphere resulted in recommendations for a custom-built Colourbolt, which although lovely are a little out of our price range (no wife of mine will have a more expensive bike than me!)
So, here we are back at square one, with a bike-sized hole in the shed and nothing to fill it other than a faint sense of bewilderment.
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