Last Thursday spelled the end of law school classes, but I was still sweating out of stress and completely sober a few hours after class let out. Rummaging around my fridge for whatever was for dinner, I found a few ice cold bottles of beer from forever ago, because when drinking just the neck of a beer can get you floored, a six pack tends to last a while. I thought about it a little, picking up one of the bottles that was lying on its side, putting it back upright before thinking eh, probably not, and finding that spinach that had to be polished off.
I’m thinking more about that beer now that I’m back in Boston and a broken water pipe means that no one in the city should be drinking the water. I was even a little afraid to drink that Americano I got at Cafe Fixe, and I’m definitely questioning if showering in that water is actually going to end up with me being cleaner than the alternative. But back to the beer, and why I wasn’t drinking it.
It had nothing to do with my confidence in my ability to cite a paper while mostly hammered, and more to do with the fact that I had to be up by 6, out the door by 7, and on a bus to NYC by 8. Four hours, lunch, and a few minutes of prepping later, I was back on a borrowed bike that’s too big for me but has gears, and has that adorable tendency to make the seat feel like a pitbull that’s jumped up, bit onto my lady parts and refused to let go. It’s probably the junky seat I have on there [the famed leopard print stripe stock saddle that used to come on the Bianchi San Jose], rather than the bike which rides and shifts like air, but either way I learned my lesson the last time I rode it, and this time, it didn’t hurt to pee for five hours after the ride.
TMI, right? Probably. But hey, it has gears, and like my 8 year old self who didn’t used to care how nasty a pony was as long as it had four legs and a tail, dream bikes with gears - even not so comfortable ones that don’t exactly fit - have been on my mind lately. Which might be old news to some, but of course, I’m the last to admit these kinds of things to myself. Because when you’re stuck with two gears between two bikes, and limited funds, it seems like I shouldn’t be allowed to dream so much. That maybe it’s easier to trick myself into believing that I won’t have shifting paddles for a while, so I should make the best out of what I’ve currently got.
But dreaming is free, and in an attempt to avoid the kind of rash decision-making that puts me into forever-single-speed-track-bike-land, I’ve been doing a little investigating. If I’m honest with myself, I’m irresistibly drawn to lighter frames but might not be so enamored with how aluminum rides. I haven’t tried my hand [seat?] at carbon, which is so deliciously airy but inevitably weighed down by that whole “it feels like it’s going to fall apart” feeling. Then, there’s the old standby of steel; much heavier but cushy and comfortable and unlikely to shatter, but difficult to finance if you’re looking for a frame that isn’t made out of water piping. [That's Andy of NYC Velo's IF and Coach DS's Parlee.]
The tyranny of choice. Sometimes I wish someone would push a bike into my hands and tell me this is the only bike that will ever fit me so I better ride it into the ground. Which I happily would do, instead of wavering over websites, frames, and magazines, judging components and wheels to see if this bike is actually worth it, or if it fits any one of my ridiculously arbitrary requirements like “it doesn’t come with Sora” and “I refuse to ride something that is women’s specific and therefore only comes in baby blue.”
I suspended all that, though, when Bicycling came in the mail the other day. “Editor’s Choice Bikes of the Year,” it said, and I was sure it would be filled with good stuff. With a female Editor in Chief, Bicycling’s been doing a fair bit of stuff for the fairer sex, so I naturally expected to see a women’s specific section, which there was. Awesome, I thought, this might lead me to the dream bike of my dreams that comes in size tiny...!
When I flipped to the women’s section, for some reason I guess I expected a women’s entry level bike too. Instead, all three bikes listed are over $3k. Great carbon fiber bikes with solid components [the Giant TCR Advanced 1 W comes with Ultegra 6700], but way out of my budget, not to mention a price tag at which I’d rather go custom. But then again, I’m not a competitive cyclist by any means, and maybe CF gets some people’s juices going. That’s not to say I didn’t see a few interesting not-quite-entry-level stuff [the Jamis Xenith Comp priced at $1950 and the BH Speedrom 105 at $2399], but of course, they don’t come in my size.
There’s good stuff in there, just not THE ONE for me. Which, I suppose, is a blessing in a way. Because this whole frustrating, headache-inducing, sometimes disappointing, other times extremely satisfying hunt for the perfect bicycle is what makes it all worth it in the end, right?