Saturday, 14 November 2009

On the end of the Castafiore

I took my old commuter bike, a.k.a. the Castafiore, in for a tune-up today. When I came home from the gym this evening, there was a message on my answering machine saying that they had discovered the frame was cracked and she was no longer safe to ride.

I knew this day was coming as she was over twenty years old. Virtually the only part of her that had never been replaced was the frame. Still, it is a bit of a shock.

The timing could hardly be better as I have the use of a car for the next week which will make commuting and the shopping process easier. Also, it is November which is a quiet month for cycle stores on the whole. On the downside, many of my bike-advice relatives are relatively hard to contact at this time.

As I see it, I now have to make an number of decisions which are relatively interconnected. The first is when I should make a decision on the Castafiore's replacement. I could buy the new bike in the next week, or take all winter to do it. I could ride Leonardo to work for the next few weeks until the snow falls, or even go the BMW (Bus-Metro-Walk) route as of the week after next. Waiting is probably best.

The second decision is which type of bike do I wish replace the Castafiore with. I am rather fond of the dropped handlebar, road bike, though this is partly because I have rarely ridden anything else since I got my first ten-speed. On the other hand, the more common hybrid has much to recommend itself, not the least being I could probably score my Dad's old hybrid relatively easily. Furthermore, we are of a similar size. Whether I want to is another story as it has a relatively lousy top-end gear ratio. Alternatively, I could go the folding bike route. This would have the advantage that I could bring it up into my flat easily, meaning I would no longer store my commuter bike on the street. Margo has been suggesting this as an option for a while. What I don't know is whether you can put a milk crate on the back of one of them and still fold it!

The third decision is whether to get a new bike or go for something second hand. The second-hand option has the advantage of making the bike "pre-battered" and thus less tempting for bike thieves. However, this option reduces the selection considerably. One of the reasons for this is that I am unusually tall in this province and the likely stock of second-hand bikes in my size is probably relatively small, thus limiting the selection.

The fourth decision is where to buy an new bike. My local bike store has a relatively limited selection, though obviously they could order something. However, as mentioned in a previous post, the MEC Nineteen Seventy-One is very appealing! In addition, there are a fair number of other bike stores in Montreal, as well as the store in Sherbrooke where I bought the Castafiore and where my family has a very good relationship with the owner.

What I know I want is as follows: a metal frame for longevity; fairly fast ; the ability to carry a milk crate on the back.

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