I’ve been riding a lot of little rides after work, five milers towing The Boss, and my wife (The Other Boss) said she wanted to ride with us. So I took a trip down to the local Trek store in Tukwila (fabulous people there, buy stuff from them) to better evaluate the state of bikes for women in their mid-*cough*’s that haven’t been on a bike since puberty and haven’t had a lot of physically strenuous activity, well, ever.
The state of technology in bikes today is pretty amazing. The last bike I bought was 13 years ago. All aluminum frame and hydraulic disk brakes. Fancy! Now they have wireless derailleurs, internally routed cabling, disk brakes on road bikes, carbon fiber everything, asymmetrical chain rings, USB chargeable LED lights, “eBikes” (electric mopeds trying to pass), and of course, an app for damn near everything. They had a $16,000 road bike in there that I swear came right off the space shuttle. Most importantly, Trek has a line of bikes set up specifically for women. Wider saddles, narrower risers, etc.. – which is exactly what I was looking for, and good for Trek for that kind of outreach. The kid at the shop spent about 45 minutes with me, so I figured the least I could do is buy a bike from him. The next day, after a long search for the perfectly color coordinated bottle clip and matching helmet, The Boss’ Mommy came home with this.
It’s even got a spot to hook up some kind of Bluetooth gizmo to the chain stay.
I have no idea what, but by God, that bike is Bluetooth ready. So she’s been riding it on our little after work five milers, and crushing it, for the record.
Which brings me to my existing bike, an early Ought’s Gary Fisher. A good bike, but I rode it pretty hard for a while, then ignored it for a while. When I pulled it off the shelf at the beginning of this little rebuild project, I bled the front brake, put some new tires and a new chain on it, and called it good. But the old girl needs work.
My front derailleur has decided it is now a de-chainer, and when it’s not throwing chains, it is refusing to drop to the small ring, and if I have the chain on the middle ring, it refuses to hop to the large ring unless the bike is up on the work rack. If I’m riding it, I’m basically riding whatever font ring the Bike Gods select for me. The bottom bracket sounds like a broken beer bottle being ground up in a gravel pile. The front brake bled well and is firm and progressive but the pads are rattling around in the caliper. The rear brake has more air in it than your dad at a bar-b-que. I’m afraid it just may have popped a leak somewhere as I can’t seem to bleed it out no matter how much I work on it. My chain rings all need replaced, as does the cassette. The rims, which were never all that to begin with, are starting to pop spokes. They’re true, though, as I bought a truing stand and find that truing wheels is kind of therapeutic. So I have that going for me.
So in summary, the Gary Fisher has become a bit of a hooptie. I’ll be able to keep it running enough to get me around Maple Valley and down to the lake, but it will be a while, if ever, before I jaunt off on any more epic trails with it. Which means it is going to take some time away from the 7000 frame that started all of this. Which means a delay in getting that bike roadworthy so I can ride it to work. Which was the whole damn point. However, after having borne witness to what is available on the market today, riding a 25 year old Trek 7000 Frankenbike frame 30 miles every other day or so seems a whole lot less appealing that one of those shiny new Trek gravel bikes I was spying while picking up The Other Boss’ new ride.
And she said that’s OK. Which is reason #2338122 why I love her.