've been away from the blog for a couple of weeks helping the Planner Guy with a project and then away on a visit with family in Kentucky. Now I'm back and ready to hunker down to some writing and catching up on my favorite bike blogs.
On a recent trip to the Flagstaff Community Market with my friend Gail, we ran into our co-worker April admiring this lovely Masden cargo bike parked next to the Regional Plan public comment booth. Gail and I stopped by the booth after Bob, my husband and Regional Planner Guy, called me to give me the heads up on the Masden sighting. The Community Market it always, always a prime sunday biking destination but I've never seen a Masden in Flag so hurried on down for peak.
Here moms-on-the-go April and Gail admired the Masden's roomy interior and seating capacity. April is a regular bike commuter to City Hall where she works as the Brownsfields Manager, but Gail has only recently been considering using a bike for weekend errands and excursions with her baby girl, Sydney. Gail and her husband have acquired a baby hauler for his bike. Gail would like to be able to bike with Sydney when her husband is unavailable, and I could see she was trying to imagine what it would be like to carry her little girl around in a Masden-style bike in a few year.
Soon the owner of the Masden had returned with her market purchases and little boys in tow. Mom said she loves her Masden and her young sons were eager to get started on their trip home.
Besides the Flagstaff Community Market, the point of my trip downtown with Gail was to look at a possible bike purchase. Only at the beginning of her bike search, Gail is still trying to figure out what type of bike she needs for the long run. At this point, she doesn't think she's likely to own a fleet of bikes like many of her Flag neighbors but is instead looking for a single bike for trail and street, that will allow her to enjoy recreational biking with Sydney as she gets older and begins riding herself.
Lately, I've been asked by several women for advise on buying a bike. They know they'd like to start riding again for enjoyment, exercise and weekend trips downtown for lunch (it's a start) but confess to being a little intimiated by bike shop staff and overwhelmed with the variety of bikes to choose from.
I can appreciate feeling intimidated in a bike shop and hearing all the bike jargon. It's pretty much how I feel whenever I have to visit the computer department in Best Buy. All I know is what I want my computer to do and what do I need to get it there. I can learn the details later. A bike purchase is not much different. For this reasonm I recommend identifying what function you want your bike to serve. My primary goal when I purchased by Specialized Expedition was to find functional and comfortable transportation to work and errands. My prospective bike would travel on both road and potentially graveled or rocky trail. I wanted to look clean and presentable when I arrived at work, and be able to carry personal and work items as needed. Speed was not a goal, I wanted to avoid unnecessary pressure on my wrists or strain on my lower back.
I put considerable thought into my bike purchase and believe it is worth taking the time to do so, expecially if one plans on spending more that $400. When my cousin Angie, recently asked my advise on her pending bike purchase, I asked her to consider the above questions and encouraged her to test a variety of bikes she liked since the coolest, most attractive bike isn't necessarily the one the serves the main purpose of the ride. I explained to Angie, and later to Gail, that I preferred an upright seating position in order to see and be seen by car drivers. I told them that for me the step through frame felt the easist to manage at traffic lights and while wearing a skirt, and it is certainly the easist to get on and off of in a hurry if needed. Both Gail and Angie have since identified a couple of bikes that interest them and are taking their time making a decision. Gail is testing a couple of models to help her narrow down her needs and preferences, which I think is a smart move. I can't wait to see what she settles on and look forward to having a bike riding friend for trips to Macy's European Coffee House on the weekends.
Here's Gail recently at Absolute Bikes getting to know the Globe Carmel. Not wanting to influence her decision, I didn't mention how great her bag looks with the shiny black Carmel!