Six months later, the great bicycle hunt continues. Yes, that’s right, I have yet to replace Baby Jake. While I haven’t spent every waking moment thinking about this decision, it is always somewhere in the background. So where do things stand?
If I could walk into my preferred bike shop right this very minute and buy a Salsa Vaya , I think I’d do it and be done with it. Is it 100% my ideal, dream bike? No, but I’d call it good enough. Unfortunately, that’s not an option.
At this point, seven-plus months of riding non-road bikes is making me question whether or not I even want a road bike configuration. I spent most of my time on Baby Jake with my hands either on the hoods or the tops (possible thanks to the secondary brake levers), and very little time in the drops. So, in addition to the touring bikes I was originally considering, I’m somewhat considering some kind of a hybrid instead.
I mentioned to Matthew the other day that I just wanted a non-longtail version of Big Blue. I really like that bike. No, it won’t win any speed contests (except maybe among cargo bikes), but it’s just so sturdy, and capable, and reliable. I haven’t put in any particularly long rides on it (nothing over 10-12 miles), but I’m always pretty comfortable. And, while it’s not quite a step-through frame, I do like the easy mount-dismount with the sloping top tube.
In that vein, I’m rather in love with the Kinn Cascade Flyer. Of course, even if I could get one here in St. Louis, it’s significantly over budget. (We could probably set this up as a bike that both Matthew and I could ride, which might make the expense more justifiable, at least in my head. AND it’s already set up to accommodate our Yepp child seat. Just sayin’.)
The Surly Long-Haul Trucker is still on the possibility list, though at this point I’m tempted to wait until the fall and see what colors they’re offering in 2016.
But that’s months away, and, in the meantime, I am actually riding less because, when Big Blue is not available, I don’t have a bike I really like riding. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to have the perfect bike, but there is something about having a bike you really love, and I’m not the only one who feels this way. As stated in a recent Hum of the City post:
A long time ago, I was reading advice on what bike to buy. The article is now lost to the internet wayback machine, but it said that when you go looking for bikes, there is often the bike that you think that you should buy, because it’s the practical or affordable choice, and the bike that you want to buy, the cool bike, which is the bike you desire whether or not it’s practical or affordable. And the author said: “Buy the cool bike.” Why? Because you’ll ride the cool bike, and not leave it in the garage . . .
. . . but I can testify now that with a bike this beautiful and practical, I found myself making up useless errands to run so that I could ride it more often.
In contrast, when Big Blue is not available, I find myself putting off errands that I could do by bike [on BUB], waiting for another time, which then often ends up being a time when I’m out and about in the car. And while I’m not sure it’s entirely rational (I rode the bike to work 12 miles RT for six months, and it was fine), BUB just doesn’t feel all that reliable.
Much as I would like to make a decision, this all adds up to me being “n-1” and pretty firmly stuck in bicycle buying limbo, while the weather is inviting me to get out and ride more!*