One of the 10 elements of homesteading, according to the original urban homesteader*, is use of alternative sources of fuel. In an effort to be a better homesteader and citizen, among other reasons, I am the proud owner of a new bike. (My goal had been to dust off the bike in the garage and use it, but the gears slipped and it wasn't worth the effort to repair.)
After much research into features and costs, I made my wish list. Foremost on the list were features that promoted do-ability and comfort. The days of being hunched over on a sleek bike with more gears than I know how to use are long gone, as is any sense of fashion and need to impress. I deemed my new acquisition "The GrannyMobile" and selected features that lived up to the name. My original list included:
● no more than 7 speeds, but not a single speed either
● light weight aluminum frame
● definitely a woman's bike for easier mounting and dismounting
● mountain or hybrid size tires, not those skinny things that get suck in storm drain grates
● a wicker basket on the front
● normal handlebars, not the back-breaking curly-cue things
● a normal seat, padded if possible
● coaster brakes like when I was a kid, if possible
● fenders to keep water spray and rocks from flying at me
● a kickstand and chain guard
● safety features like a rear view mirror, light and reflectors
● PINK if possible (no self-respecting male would be caught dead stealing a pink bike!)
● around $100. My wonderful husband was willing to spend over $400, but not me!
Some of the features on the wish list didn't make it to the final selection, pictured here.
She's a 7-speed Carolina Blue aluminum beauty. I learned that coaster brakes don't come on bikes with more than 3 speeds. Fenders are hard to come by once you leave the single speed beach cruiser models. Most safety gear must be purchased separately. And to get a bike now, already assembled and not pay shipping costs, my dreams of a pink girlie bike had to go. You can imagine my delight when the bike in stock was actually my alma mater blue instead of NCSU red and white (which they told us over the phone was the one they had). The metal basket on the front will be more durable than a wicker one, and this one is detachable with a handle ... to double as a shopping basket. Best of all, we left the store not having spent more than $125!
Today is the day of my maiden voyage. To the bank and grocery store. Pray all goes well ... : ^)
*Jules Dervaes. Visit http://urbanhomestead.org/about for an amazing adventure into urban homesteading. Visit my blog entries of February 1st and 2nd for a list of the 10 elements and how we are doing.