the best city bicycle- part two

cityhippyfarmgirlcityhippyfarmgirlcityhippyfarmgirlA few weeks back I put the call out for a little help on the bike purchasing front… What was the best bicycle for a city gal wanting to get around on two wheels?

Turns out I had quite a lot of choice, and so I slowly narrowed it down to two, with 5062 hours of research and the help of you- my awesome readers. Every piece of advice was duly noted and I can confidently say, without everyone’s advice there is no way I would have found the bike that I did.

The cool looking retro bikes were trying to entice me but it’s a trusty 21 speed hybrid¬†Malvern Star that finely came through with a skidding halt to my back door step. Despite being daunted by all the seemingly excessive gears, after two rides, (yes, two) I got them. I understood the gears and can confidently say….I love them! Gears are amazing and make bike riding a joy… who knew?

This little bike has everything I wanted- stand, mud guards, step through, basket, rack, upright position, 21 speeds and a comfy seat, (without a crazy price tag.)

The first few rides were a little daunting, the footpath getting a good workout along with the breaks. Every car going by seemed to be a potential to, well… die! However I’ve decided that if I’m going to ride in Sydney I just have to get more confident. It’s a busy city, with not a lot of apparent love towards bike riders, (and just quietly, more than it’s fair share of hills.) But it’s my city and there is nothing to say, I can’t make that all work for me.

Early morning rides to city farmers markets? No problem, with my basket on the front and my bell finger at the ready, ting ting…out of my way drunken Friday night partiers, city hippy farm girl coming though on her bike…ting ting.

Taking the bike away with us last weekend, I got a different view of what it’s like to ride around another city. Newcastle this time, which is incredibly flat and bike friendly. Peddling furiously to make it to the beach in time to watch the sun sneak over the water I had a moment.

I got it, I really did.

With the wind on my face, the light slowly touching the scattered clouds, my breath catching a little as I peddled faster and faster. I had time, I knew I could get there before the sun snuck over the horizon. I kept going faster though, not because I had to, but because I could… and that’s a pretty wonderful feeling to have.

cityhippyfarmgirlMy top tips for anyone looking at getting a bike in the city.

Research…and research your butt off. Ask oodles of questions, try the bikes out and take your time making a decision. You want to use it, not for it to be an expensive ornament. The low gear retro bikes look amazing, but if you don’t live in a flat cobblestone city, maybe think again. If you are going to be riding up any sort incline, gears are your friend. A superb wonderful friend, that you will love getting to know.

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For an interesting comparison on riding in a different city, have a read of Richard Tulloch’s cycling in Amsterdam…44,000 bike spaces to park in!

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the best city bicycle

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I’ve got wheels on my mind at the moment. Two of them actually. I want to get a bike and the whole research into exactly which one to get is BENDING MY MIND.

Having not owned a bicycle for the past twenty years, I’m a little bit out of the loop. I have sweet images of me tra la laaaing along with my basket laden retro looking ladies bicycle.

Ting, ting goes my bell…excuse me, coming by.

I refuse to think about the horror stories that friends keep sharing with me of how unbike friendly Sydney actually is. I’m also trying not to think of the seemingly vast amount of hills I’m suddenly very aware of in my immediate area. It’s now I start thinking, moving to Canberra might not be such a bad idea. Flat, tree lined cycle ways everywhere I needed to go. Melbourne I think would also be good, Amsterdam (for obvious bikey reasons) also fantastic. Byron Bay was also very bike friendly.

Alloy, inches, step through, speeds are all things that I wasn’t thinking of a couple of weeks ago. One helpful young bike enthusiast showed me a lovely looking bike with 21 gears. I know I sound like a big girly girl, but what on earth do I do with 21 gears? Last time I was confidently riding the streets with the wind in my hair, my bike had a back pedal break and that was it. If I wanted to get up a hill, I pedaled harder. (For the record I did, briefly have a three speed bike after this one, but by that time I had become a ‘cool’ teen and cool teens most certainly didn’t ride three speeds, so it didn’t quite get the mileage that I think my parents had hoped for.)

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Oh just get on there and ride, someone helpfully tells me. Half of me says, what’s the worse that could happen? The other half of me, tells me in great detail all the horrific worse things that could happen.

And so I sit, in biking limbo. Unsure of which way to venture. With twenty tabs open on my computer, all with a different view on the best city bicycle to own . I know one thing is for sure though, it looks like there is going to be two wheels on my horizon.

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Does anyone have any biking tips for me? Brands they have been happy with, biking stories- horror or happy (I’m brave, I can take the horror ones) or just some general biking tips for riding in the city?