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Lindsey Kuper

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...now get on your bike. [Apr. 15th, 2006|02:26 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

I got a amazing birthday present from my roommate Jon: a bike that he rebuilt for me. I remember seeing this bike months ago in our basement, disassembled and cast off from an ex-bandmate or ex-boyfriend or someone; it looked like a rusty pile of pipes covered with caked-on dirt. Jon packed it off to his workshop and spent weeks Simple Greening the hell out of it, buying new shifters and a new seat and various other new stuff for it, and adjusting it to fit me. Turns out that underneath all that rust and dirt was a beautiful, steel gray Marin mountain bike. Here are the specs, to the extent that they still apply now that so much has changed. Jon described everything that he did to the bike, but bike terminology is so over my head that most of it went in one ear and out the other. Suffice it to say that I'm stoked.

Embarrassingly, I haven't taken it out yet. I don't have a helmet or a lock, so I'm not ready for any serious riding, but the bigger reason is that, well, it's been several years since I've ridden a bike -- what if I do something stupid? But Amanda suggested that my first ride should be over to the Bike Gallery with her tomorrow so that I can get all the stuff I need. I think I can handle that, as long as they let me into the store with the bike, which they should, 'cause, bike store, right? Helmet and lock (and water bottle, and glove, and bike bag, and...) recommendations are much appreciated. For now I just need the necessities for getting around town on the bike, but once I'm more comfortable with it I want to try some, you know, actual mountain biking. I've been thinking for a while that it's time to try a different sport, and maybe this is the shot in the arm I need to make me go for it.


From: rmfleming
2006-04-15 10:23 pm (UTC)


I'd wait a while before I invested in a bike bag. But then again, I tend to go a little crazy at specialty stores. Wait until you figure out how much space you really need and get a bag that matches that best. Undue weight is BAD. Or perhaps just get some cheap-ass grocery-style panniers until you figure it out. Gloves are way totally important. Man oh man.

They'll fit you out with everything you might possibly at the bike store, just make sure you're talking to people who know what they're talking about and don't let them sell you up unless you know what you need. Pretend you're buying running shoes.

Also, what you DO need right away will fit in an under-the-seat bag -- bike tool, flat kit, spare tube, and either a hand pump or a CO2 cylinder & pump (those things are freaking awesome). If you have it, you'll never break down.
unless you're my dad.
I keep it all there so it doesn't get in the way of my other crap. Also, if you're going to be riding in the evening or night you need a good front light (that'll work for you to see and for cars to not kill you) and a nice back one. I like the flashy ones.

you're a runner, you can get obsessed with anything. Then we can talk about how long your crank arms are.... (not to mention bike computers.)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-04-16 12:34 am (UTC)


Thanks! Good call about the lights. The Portland Police apparently give out free ones, but I haven't been able to find out how I get them -- I'll ask at the bike store, maybe someone there will know. Portland's a very bike-friendly town. I've heard of people moving here simply because of the bike culture.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2006-04-16 03:42 am (UTC)


That must be nice... motorists in Atlanta seem genuinely surprised (or angry, even) to see people out in traffic on a bike. I get honks and yells occasionally :-P

Ooh, and bike bags... I don't have them yet, but it's so much nicer when I can leave the backpack at home! (super-cyclist roomie sault has some nice ones...)
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2006-04-16 12:44 am (UTC)
It's a Frankenstein bike. Sweet!
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-04-16 02:22 am (UTC)
It is Franken-bike, although not as much so as Jon's own bike.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-04-16 05:00 pm (UTC)


I'd just start with a helmet and and whatever lights/reflectors you need. Maybe some gloves if you don't already have decent gloves you're willing to get a bit dirty. I use my plain old backpack when riding and it works great. Try the thing out a while before deciding if you want all the cool kid stuff. ;) Congrats!
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[User Picture]From: anderbug
2006-04-16 07:59 pm (UTC)
Yes! Another convert. I see that the portland branch of the bike world domination coalition is earning their keep. Beyond the helmet, lock, and light, I would wait and see what you need. It will become very very obvious very soon. You'll be riding along and suddenly you'll realize that your life would be about 4000 times easier if you had a ______. And that is what you should get. I just know from experience that it is easy to get something that is not-quite-right because you don't know what you need.

Also, if you don't know how, I would learn how to change a tube. It will make your life much easier.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-04-16 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tips. I seem to recall you and Ross visiting out here not too long ago -- did you go biking, and if so, where?
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[User Picture]From: matchgirl
2006-04-16 11:07 pm (UTC)
I am new to cycling too, but the one thing I notice that no one has mentioned is a back fender. I know in chicago with the rain and the dirty streets, it's a must. They're pretty cheap too. You might want to check out different saddles too, because women usually ride more comfortably on a saddle built specifically for them.
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[User Picture]From: geminus
2006-04-17 12:26 am (UTC)
hooray for you. i don't know much about mtn biking, but general riding i can say:

definitely helmet (the store can fit one for you), lock, water bottle (i like the zefal magnum cause it holds a liter and is easy to drink from one-handed; i also have a neat polar bottle that helps keep drinks cold) and lights (front and back).

also an under the seat bag with tire irons, a spare tube and a pump (and know how to use them-- also, on a road bike hand pumps are kind of a pain because road tires need so much air pressure, but they tend to work better on mountain bikes tires, if you want to avoid the cost of co2 canisters). also, hex keys are good so you can make adjustments. multi-tools can get expensive, but they're neat, and i got the topeak alien II for about $30, and i love it.

other than that, all i would add is a rear fender because biking in the rain is fine as long as dirty water isn't spraying up your back constantly. but then again, i think that a point of pride for mountain bikers. also, some degreaser and lube is good because it's amazing how much a clean chain makes riding feel better. the people at the shop should be able to recommend the kind of lube to use, probably something suited for damp weather.
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