Thursday, July 08, 2021

I'm a Lousy Minimalist

I pride myself on being a minimalist. I try to keep as few things as possible. Last Summer, I even lent my car to someone for a few months, and relied on my bike and LANTA to get to where I needed to be. But this philosophy goes right out the window when it comes to bicycles. I now own three of them. 

My first love is a Jamis Tangier hybrid that I bought in 1999 for $429. Over the years, it has undergone many modifications.  I had the gears completely redone, added fenders and a heavy duty rack. I replaced the wheels and my tires are made of kevlar. It is slow, like its owner, but it's a tank. 

My second bike is a Bianchi Cortina, yet another hybrid. While the Jamis tends to be clunky, the Italian bike is quite nimble and can turn on a dime. Though that bike is only a year old, it's slower than the Jamis. 

My third bike is one I bought (used) yesterday. It's a hardtail, a Cannondale Trail 5. I never expected I'd ever buy a mountain bike, especially with those shock absorbers that seem to slow things down. But I've been passed by enough guys on them to start wondering. Moreover, my grandson flies on his Cannondale. I believe they are faster because they are extremely light and the tires are bigger. 

I tried it out yesterday on the Ironton Trail.  My fastest time on that 12.7 mile ride has been exactly 1 hour on my Jamis. Yesterday, in my first ride on the Cannondale Trail 5, my time was 64 minutes. That's slower, but the ride was in 93 degree weather. It's definitely a faster ride. 

I felt much more confident and comfortable on that bike, too. There was no rattling of the joints as I went over bumps. I added a fat man saddle and changed the handgrips, and am going to see about getting better tires. This is the bike I will likely use for my ride from Pittsburgh to DC in August. If I do, I will add lights and a rack. 


Anonymous said...

Don't forget to clothespin a baseball card on the frame to catch the passing wheel spokes. A real incentive for speed, to get that card humming.

Anonymous said...

Rattling joints - yours or the bikes? Hah!

Good luck Bernie keep it up!

The Banker

Anonymous said...

this blog gets worse on a daily basis

Anonymous said...

I have actually thought about purchasing a bike for exercise and enjoyment. I won't get into it like you did, but I feel the bike would be a great way to exercise and Lord knows, I need it. Can you recommend a bike shop that would be helpful and aid me in getting into biking while not losing my life savings. I heard one guy talking about his bike and gear costing almost four thousand dollars?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"this blog gets worse on a daily basis"

Simple solution. Stop reading it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Can you recommend a bike shop that would be helpful and aid me in getting into biking while not losing my life savings. I heard one guy talking about his bike and gear costing almost four thousand dollars?"

Being a person of limited means, I am quite conscious of cost. I can tell you that very few new bikes have been available at shops since the pandemic hit. There is a real shortage. I picked up my Cannondale by browsing Facebook Marketplace and LV Craigslist.

The best shop for you depends on where you live. I have been to a lot of them.

I live in Nazareth, and go to Curt's quite a but. The staff there is very friendly and they try hard to keep prices low. In Bethlehem, I like Action Wheels on Broad St (north side) and Cutters on South side. Cutters is actually a Cannondale dealer.

In Whitehall I was at Crown Bicycle just last week. I jammed the chain on my Jamis. The guy fixed it in three seconds.

"How much do I owe you?" I asked.

"How about a thank you?" was what Mike replied.

I used to go to Broken Spoke in Wilson all the time, but went by there a few times and it was closed. They were always great and reasonable.

The Genesis in Easton is now a Trek shop. I was there once. They were friendly and actually did have some bikes. That is an expensive place.

I got my Bianchi at Cycle Funatic in P-burg. That is a great mom-and-pop shop with good prices. The family that owns it lives in the slate belt and they are wonderful people. I have been there a few times, but not this year.

I know there's a shop in Emmaus called South Mountain. A friend got his Talon there, which he loves. He got a good deal.

Bike shops are not car dealers. They are very good people.

If you get yourself a bike, you'll quickly get addicted like I am.

The old Genesis in E

Anonymous said...

" I added a fat man saddle"

HAha classic!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Every bike I own has one, lol.