Sunday, October 3, 2010

This Weekend's Events... Ignorance. But also a New Bike for W!

Went to a barbecue yesterday hosted by W's coworker. Normally these things are fine, I guess, lots of small talk and discussing what everyone does for a living, how do you know the host, blah blah - until the booze catches up to everyone and you see their true colours and everyone plays Rock Band. But, every so often, I meet someone who reminds me why I love my cats so much - they can't talk. Their main expressions are generally of hunger or contempt. I can live with that.

Anyway, this girl at the barbecue kept going on and on about how she wished she could be a visible minority (namely black) because "they're just so much cooler and it sounds better when they say certain things". Right. I'm sure the North American minority population is so glad to have endured centuries of oppression followed by further cultural barriers to success, because it's all added up to being cool. Of course, W and I being Asian, we were irritated but I had to exercise restraint. Probably doesn't bode well for W if his wife turns into a crazy B at the company bbq. Same girl also said she thought for most of her life that Africa was a country "because, you know, Canada is, like, so big and so is Africa."

Enough of that, let's talk about bikes....

I'm waiting for BikeBike to get their shipment of Linus Bikes before I decide the bike I'm getting (more on that later). In the meantime, we figured it was time for W to also look into getting a bike  And not one from some department store - a decent bike. He isn't interested in serious commuting (Royal Oak to Canyon Meadows is a little too daunting at this stage) or riding crazy trails. What he wants is something we can hit the streets or paths with and haul some groceries around. And not too expensive.

Looked at a few options, but it came down to the Kona Dew and Brodie Section.7.

First up - the Kona:

Checked it out at Bow Cycle. FYI, Bow Cycle sells the Kona Bownesian, which is the same bike but with a custom red paint job for Bow Cycle.

I won't get into all the techie details. W said it was a nice ride, but he's also not too particular. He says "a bike is a bike" and is really only foregoing the department store bikes because I insist he'd be sorry later. Anyway, he found it easier to accelerate with, and it had more gears (although he doesn't think he really needs that much gearing). Riding position was slightly more aggressive than on the Brodie. Wasn't a fan of the derailleurs and rim brakes solely on account of the maintenance required, which really isn't that bad anyway, but maintenance is a factor for W. Also, his pants kept getting caught in the chainring. I suppose he could wear one of those pant-tie-thingies so it's not really that big of a deal.

Next was the Brodie:

This one was at BikeBike. I really like this store. They carry products for "everyday cycling" - commuting, riding the pathways, running errands, etc. You won't find mountain bikes or crazy carbon-fibre road bikes here. As far as I know, they are the only retailer in Calgary that carries Batavus and Pashley - two manufacturers I admire. They also have an impressive selection of accessories, such as those from Basil - I'm a sucker for stylish and functional accessories.

Back to the Brodie.... Riding position was more comfortable, although it took slightly longer to accelerate on this bike. It has 7 gears, which is enough for the riding that W plans on doing. We liked the internal hub gearing and the front disc/rear roller brakes - less maintenance. Plus, W thought it looked nicer - say what you will, looks are important to us.

So the main deciding factors were comfort, maintenance, and appearance. Both bikes were of similar price, with the Brodie being slightly more expensive (although less so than it normally would be, because it was also on sale). Based on the above, W decided to go with the Brodie. No modifications except for the addition of a rear rack. W's going to be away on business this week so we'll pick it up on Saturday.

Our community is a 10 minute walk to the business plaza (grocery, drug store, bank, etc.), yet everyone drives their car there. Now we have another option for going out and running errands.

This whole experience was fantastic - W started the day generally indifferent to the idea of purchasing a bike and getting into riding. Now he's talking to other bike enthusiast friends and planning the routes we're going to explore once he picks up his bike. He's been bitten by the bug....

As for me, I'm looking for something to replace my mountain bike as my day-to-day bike. Like I said above, I'm looking at Linuses but have also been seriously considering a Pashley. Next blog post will be about my own bike search.

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