A Limit to Walking, but Not for a Bike!
About 5 years ago, I decided to haul my 20-year-old old bike out of its corner in the basement. I needed to get a little more exercise, and while walking is good it also limits how far you can go in a given amount of time. So I got on the bike. After a while, my cardio capacity improved, and I found myself easily able to ride for 30 or 40 minutes, with hills along the way. Very nice. And pleasant too; cycling is still fun.
One day, I had an errand to run downtown (I live near UBC), so I rode my bike. It was easy, and took about the same amount of time as the car trip did. And then another to Main Street to a music store. And a few photo expeditions. And another trip, and another.
Pretty soon, I started hearing about cycling infrastructure and looked stuff up with the help of Professor Google. Found a Vancouver bike map; took the VACC’s Streetwise course (fabulous), found bike routes, bike buttons, the Seaside bicycle path. And my trips got more ambitious and more frequent. Car usage went down. My weight went down.
And so it has gone, and the old bike served me well. But its warts started to show. New tires, new cables, brake pads (I was up to about 3,000 km per year by now -- substituting bike trips for car trips around town). And the endless adjustments. And finally, new chain, derailleur and gear clusters (ouch). More adjustments as they all broke in. And 18 months later, it was time to replace them again.
So I started to look around for better technology, with lower maintenance. I quickly zeroed in on the Brodie “Once”, which had hydraulic disc brakes and a Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub shifter. It certainly helps that Brodie is local.
The great folks at Bikes On the Drive fitted the “Once” to me and installed a carrier and fenders -- and one fine day I rode it home. It seems lighter-handling than the old bike, and much lighter on the brakes, with greater stopping power. The lowest gear is close enough to the old bike that I have no problem with the notorious 8th Avenue hill on the way home.
As of today, I’ve ridden the “Once” 135 km, and about 8 hours -- loving it all. And it looks pretty fine to me as well.
Thanks to Brodie for the design and the looks. I’m a happy rider. Those fun rides are even more fun now.