I hate this bike!

August 28, 2014

photo of loaner bike

This looks like a perfectly wonderful bicycle. Appearances can be deceiving.

A year ago, I got a new rear wheel for my bicycle and ever since it’s been one broken spoke after another, by which I mean three. But that’s there more than I had in fifteen years with the original-equipment old wheel. A month ago I had a two and now it’s in the shop again with another one. Fortunately, the shop to which I’ve been going, One On One, has excellent customer service and they bend over backwards to make things right with no hassle. When I walked in this time the manager (I assume he’s the manager) immediately remembered without prompting that I had just been in a few weeks ago. He offered to sell me at cost (about half of retail) a sturdier rim with thicker spokes. Okay!

Only trouble is, the loaner bike they stuck me with this time is a real plonker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that they do loaner bikes and I’m grateful that I can keep riding. But of the three different bikes I’ve had in the last year, this one is THE WORST.

I enjoyed the bike a year ago. I particularly liked the handle grips and subsequently got similar ones for my bike to replace the original grips which I had worn smooth. The bike a month ago I didn’t like so well. That was mainly because of handlebars that were shaped and placed such that my thigh would block them whenever I tried to make a turn any sharper than a gentle arc. When I saw the current bike I was leery of its handlebars which appeared suspiciously similar, but they turned out to be okay.

photo of loaner bike's basket

I’ve seen all manner of basket on people’s bikes. I am not a fan of this front-mounted, metal crate. It seems to be original equipment of this model.

No, the beef I have with this bike is the basket. Look at it. It’s a monstrous metal crate. It makes for very front-heavy balance, which has taken some getting used to (I’m on day four with the bike). The shop guy touted it as a feature and boasted that he once carried four large pizzas in/on it. But more annoyingly, this mega-basket makes it practically impossible to maneuver through a doorway without banging and bashing the door and the frame. I have to go through two doors at home and two at the office. That’s a lot of bangers and mash (yes, yes, I know what bangers and mash really is).

photo of spring on loaner bike

Have you every seen one of these springs before? Neither have I. You must be really incompetent if you need that much help going in a straight line.

The balance issue is exacerbated by a weird feature I’ve never heard of in a bicycle. A strong spring joins the front wheel to the frame. This apparently is to help keep the wheel straight. Is this bike model for people who can’t grasp the basics of steering? Is it for people who really dig rid no-handed? I don’t get it. What the spring does for me, in combination with the front-mounted crate, is to make my steering go all wobbly when I remove my left hand from the handlebars to signal a turn. And while we’re on the subject, you do not signal a right turn by sticking out your right arm. You signal a right turn by up-bending your left arm at the elbow. Similarly, when I am properly signaling my right turn and you, the pedestrian, are standing on the corner looking at me, I am not waving hello to you. You’d be surprised how frequently either of these scenarios occurs.

But I digress.

A minor quibble is that the loaner bike only has eight gears. It’s true I’ve always said that I don’t need the twenty-one speeds that my own bike has because I only use four or five of them. But that many speeds allows for subtlety, I have realized. The difference on the loaner between the easy gear that I use for accelerating and the next, harder one seems vast by comparison.

The shop is waiting for the new wheel to come in. That won’t be soon enough for me.

photo of loaner bike

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