There are probably very few communities one could live in and still feel guilty driving a Prius. Here in West Olympia, people bike, bike, bike, and if they’re not biking, they’re walking, scootering, skateboarding, or taking the bus. Or driving a teeny electric car :D I think it’s starting to rub off on me. Over the years, various friends have tried to get me into biking, mostly to no avail. Trying to learn to ride at 45 feels a little awkward. Last time I tried it, I just felt uncomfortable and not that safe. But I’m thinking now maybe the bike just wasn’t right for me.
Bikes have come a long way since I was a kid. I recently visited a bike shop in Olympia (of which there are many), and found a lot of new styles that looked easier to ride, and easier to figure out. I never did get the hang of those lever gear shifts, for example, and bikes today have way more gears. Now they have clearly labeled hand grips that turn – nice! The other thing that appealed to me are the new “step-through” bikes – these have really low crossbars, and are meant so that you can easily get on your bike and get your feet on the ground anytime you need to.
Here’s the bike I ended up settling on (Trek 7200 WSD, a brand that came highly recommended by my “bikey” friends):
It still looks a little odd to me because of the crossbar shape, but this is a serious bike. It’s kind of a cross-over between comfortable and performance – it has shocks in the seat and handlebars, raised handlebars so I can have a straight back (far more comfortable for me than leaning over), a comfortable seat, and the low crossbar. At the same time, it is built to the dimensions of a woman’s body, has “fast” tires meant for roads and trails, 21 speeds, and high-quality components. As the bike guy put it, you can tool around the neighborhood or go on a cross-country ride on this bike.
Most importantly, I got on it easily and rode comfortably down the block. It was intuitive to use, fast, and stable. As I was riding it, the first thought that came into my head was “I would ride this bike.” And that’s what matters!