I’ve been going around and around in my head trying to settle on what bike we should get for transporting myself and the kid.* I had it narrowed down to two different choices, the price difference between the two will be minimal if I have to buy them new, so that’s not the deciding factor. I think I realized that what was preventing me from being able to make an actual decision was the idea that this going to be the last bike I’ll ever buy. It probably won’t be. It’s ok if we get a bike that will work for us for the next 5 to 6 years until our kid is (hopefully) riding his own bike, what I get doesn’t need to be the bike I use for the next 20 or 30 years. I suspect that this realization would be obvious to most people, but it wasn’t obvious to me.
As a kid, I always had hand-me-down bikes, my first new bike got wrecked by my brother (fixing the tooth he broke meant we couldn’t afford a new bike). The next new bike I got was in my second year of college, using money I had saved up from my summer job. I had it on campus for about 2 weeks, and then it was stolen. I didn’t have another bike for about 15 years. When I finally did buy a bike (with the money I got selling my car), I bought the wrong bike. A very heavy and broken bike that I could barely peddle and that wouldn’t fit through our apartment door without disassembling it. I sold it to someone that had the know how to fix it and that had a garage for storing it. Then I got a horrible electric bike (with the money from the previous bike) that weighed about 100 pounds, had a heavy lead acid battery, an underpowered motor, and wasn’t able to be used with a child trailer. (Not all e-bikes are horrible, but this one was.) I free-cycled that bike, because I couldn’t in good conscience ask someone to pay for it. The next bike was a $100 craigslist bike, and it’s what I still use today. If it was just me, I’d be fine with it, though it does need a little work. But it’s not just me 🙂 and while the bike + trailer combo is fine for low traffic streets, it’s a bit unwieldy for where we are now. (Also our kid is pretty much at the height limit for the trailer.) Could I add everything I need to my current bike and turn it into what we need? Maybe, but it would be about as expensive as buying new.
It’s ok for me to know that this next bike is not THE bike that I’ll have for the rest of my life. I can buy the bike that best suits our needs for the next few years, and that’s ok. Weirdly, I don’t think this way about the cars that I/we have owned. Maybe because resale value gets taken into consideration when buying a car? Maybe I need to re-adjust my thinking, think of what we’re getting more as a “transportation” item than something for fun (a toy). This makes the decision a whole lot easier, and now only comes down to test riding two or three bikes that are the top contenders.
* In previous posts I’ve said that I was “giving up” on riding a bike because it was too dangerous on the roads here. Walking is great, but biking is a lot faster and more convenient. We’re still going to walk if we’re going somewhere really close (coffee shop/Chinese grocery/small strip mall), but if we’re going further (grocery store/farmers market/Target) we’ll bike. The streets are still dangerous, but I can change the route enough to take safer streets most of the time, and when I don’t think it’s safe enough, I can walk the bike instead (and not care if I look ridiculous doing so).