Thursday, April 19, 2007

More thoughts on bikes

So, yesterday I did some spring cleaning. My lovely wife Anika has been after my case for a couple of years now to address the "pile" hidden back under the pine trees. Covered with tarps in a poor attempt to keep things dry sat a pile of bikes in less than ideal storage conditions. So, yesterday I pulled back the tarp and started rolling these "projects" from the back of the yard to the front, hose it off, drag it in the garage.

I'd made several trips before I realized just how embarrassing this was. What if someone were watching? So, I started going around the house one way with one bike, the other way with another, and up the middle and through the service door with the next. Some were still ridable such as the psychedelic Rose; my sweet Schwinn 2-speed kickback. Others, were as I said... "projects." The ones that I could ride, I put air in the tires and cruised up and down the street.

Gosh, I LOVE old bikes. There's a relaxed casualness and coolness to the bent tubes, big tires, funky handlebars, tractor saddles... a style that will never be reproduced no matter how hard bike companies try to make bikes appealing. I'll have to take some photos to share and remind myself to compare and contrast with the article in the Pioneer Press Business Section the other day talking about bikes for the masses. Speaking of that article, let's look at some experts from the article if we may:

"Shimano spent several years figuring out why ridership has decreased, and realized people wanted to ride for fun, they were just intimidated, said Shannon Byrant, Coasting coordinator for the Irvine, Calif.-based company. The company was shocked to realize its efforts at making newer, more high-performance bikes weren't winning over new riders.

We come to find out these people not only don't want high performance, they don't even care about it," she said.

So Shimano designed the Coasting system to place enjoyment over performance and each of the three brands incorporated it into a design. On the Lime, it works like this: A hub in the front wheel acts as a speedometer and communicates electronically through wires within the bike frame to a computer near the pedals. The computer then communicates with a three-speed internal shifter. The speedometer sends a signal to switch gears - which makes a quick, quiet buzz - after riders hit 7 mph and again at 11 mph."

I don't know what it is about those few sentences that just made me chuckle. So Shimano spends years studying bikes and why people don't ride, come to the conclusion that it's not the technology that they've been pouring into bicycles, and then attempts to solve the whole perceived problem with more effin' technology? C'mon. Maybe they should work with Nintendo and Nokia to make an attachment to run off the electronics system so that people can text and play games while riding?

Anyway... Back to the subject at hand... I'd honestly forgotten just how many bikes that I owned. There is now 9 more bikes added to the garage. Bringing my personal grand-total to 21. Now, I have no problems with this, but I do get the disapproving look from my better half.

Tomorrow I have a job interview up in Shoreview. Hopefully it will work out. If the job is great, pays the bills... I'll still have some mixed emotions. I would have a VERY short commute, but that means that I would no longer get 40 miles a day? I'm sure that I could find some nice recreational LONG rides to squeeze in on the way to or from work. On the plus side, if I did manage to land this job, we could sell a car... Then I'd really have some place where I could park all those bikes! Hmmmmm... Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Paul said...

40 miles a day commuting. Holy shit. You will do just fine at TI. I swear commuting is the best training to finish the beast! Great work.

See ya next week.


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