Following my urges from last week, I saw a bike that totally fitted the bill for what I was after. The person who was selling it was obviously a bike person, and had built it up for himself, only to find he wasn’t using it as much as some of his other rides. I allowed the weekend as a cooling-off period for myself, and then stumped up the cash (the Venmo, really) on Monday as we arrived for the Embarcadero sit.
I was trying to think how many bikes I have bought as an adult: there was a very cheap city bike, which soon got upgraded once I realised I had money for a better one and a great desire to ride a better one for longer. Then the road bike, which I bought twenty-five years ago this month, and which lasted through thousands of miles in all terrains and weathers, not to mention flights across Europe and the Atlantic, and to the east coast and back, until it was damaged at the end of last year. Another city bike in London, which is still at my father’s house, but hard to ride these days – it survived a garage fire, but not unscathed. I entertain thoughts of having both of those bikes repaired and built up for when I am over there, as Cornwall was the scene of most of my favourite riding all those years ago.
There is my sturdy fixed gear which has been getting me round San Francisco and environs since I moved here almost twenty years ago. I was pleased at still being able to get it over the hill to Green Gulch last weekend, but the warm weather had been enticing me with thoughts of riding up Tam or Diablo, which is certainly beyond its range, and mine.
So I guess this new one makes six, and with countless hours on the two I have had in San Francisco over the past two decades, I am bringing some beginner’s mind to its handling and characteristics: while it is light and nimble, with good gears and brakes, the bars are distinctly wider than those I am used to – since I have been struggling with back and shoulder issues, I will see if the width offers comfort there. The cranks also feel longer, and I should look up to see what effect that has on my pedalling. On Monday afternoon, which was balmy and windless, I enjoyed getting to ride in low gears, and took it up to Twin Peaks to see how it felt. Pretty good so far.
So I am now broke again, at least for the next week or so, but I think of it as a solid investment in joy.
You can’t beat the view down Market Street from Twin Peaks on a clear day, especially when you have got to the top under your own steam. Diablo beckons in the distance!