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New Bike

December 5th, 2006


Partly from a desire for more exercise combined with a need for a good mode of transportation for local birdwatching, I bought a new bike a few days ago, and took it out for the first big spin today. I went birdwatching in Tama Reien (for those who haven’t read this blog and/or don’t know, Tama Reien is a huge cemetery smack in the middle of Tokyo Prefecture, a large, quiet area with lots of small streets and lanes and foliage, great for birdwatching). On the map, Tama Reien looked almost too far for biking, but apparently Tokyo is smaller than it looks like on maps; it took only about 30-40 minutes and was a nice little trip.

I started looking for a bike a week or two ago, and started at the little shop within the large supermarket/home center just down the block from my place (and practically the only real store for a mile in any direction). They had a few bikes that were close to what I wanted. Most of the bikes were too simple–cheap little 1- or 3-speed bikes, not great for this very hilly area–or were too much–expensive 16-speed bikes with narrow seats. A few were mid-priced 6-speed bikes, and one looked especially good: for about $140 it included a kind of lamp that didn’t drag on your front wheel (I hate those things). Instead the engine for the lamp is made of magnets within the front wheel axle, a “no touch” light. Cool.

The problem was, the bike’s frame was low, made that way for people who are short even by Japanese standards. I could fit on it, but only with the seat and handlebar extended fully. But by “trying it on” in the narrow store area for bikes, I found that if I were on the bike and made a turn while my leg in the direction of the turn was at its highest point, the handlebar would collide with my knee and the turn would be limited. So I went to a few other bike shops within biking distance–only to find that no one had anything close to what I wanted, or at nearly the price my local shop had. So on Saturday evening, I went in to reserve it–and it was gone. A new one would take 2 weeks to order, and I wanted to get this out of the way.

After much gnashing of teeth and consideration, I decided to buy the $120 version of the bike with the drag-lamp I really don’t like–and only then noticed that they had put a few bikes out in the aisle that I hadn’t seen before. Usually $190, they were on sale for that day only for $150, and had the features I wanted–6 speeds, the no-touch lamp–and these were regular frames, not to mention they simply looked more well-built (and it had a extra device to lock the front wheel in place). There were three, and a man and his two kids were all over them, with the attitude of “we’re buying these!” Hoping against hope, I asked their intentions, and they said they only wanted two of the three–and the one left over was the one I had been eyeing. So without any further delay, I put the money down and bought the thing.

After midnight, I’ll blog on the birdwatching I got done with the bike today.

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  1. Matt Williams
    December 7th, 2006 at 06:57 | #1

    Well that worked out really well for you. Too bad you had to take the long way to get there. Nice looking bike though!

    By the way, first comment on your blog. I enjoy the mac news the best, which is actually how I got here in the first place, but your commentary on a wide variety of subject matter keeps me a daily visitor.

  2. Retro Bicycles
    October 24th, 2007 at 06:45 | #2

    Give me an old cool bicycle, and I’ll ride around the city for days.

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