Bicycling in Olympia

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):
7200wsd_whitenickel

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!

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4 thoughts on “Bicycling in Olympia

  1. Quiet says:

    The first bike I had (back in the 1950s)looked very like this. It is the low cross bar I think. All bikes made especially for girls had a low cross bar then.

    Of course, we had none of the special additions available now. There were pedal brakes and a very comfortable leather seat but that is about all. A basket could be fitted to the front handlebars. The bike was sturdy and lasted for many years.

    Enjoy your new bike!

  2. flit says:

    I *love* Trek bikes. Very nice choice! Also, yes, modern gear shifts are da bomb. I never could figure out those lever shifts either.

    There are probably cycle clubs in Olympia that offer beautiful rides. Look for one that’s newb friendly and you’re go. I wish you could do the Fremont Freewheelers Cinderella Training run… trains you to ride 100 kilometers in ten sessions, once a week. It’s incredibly gratifying! And *so* good with newcomers. One of their training rides goes across the Dunbarton Bridge to Palo Alto from Fremont. I thought I could never possibly do that ride, yet later on I did it… on a Trek I borrowed from a friend. :)

  3. There are actually a ton of cycle clubs in Oly, most of which are friendly to newbies – their whole thing is, they want everyone to ride and not drive :) The bike shop guy was very helpful too, and totally friendly about my lack of knowledge without talking down to me. And he knew whether or not it would fit IN a Prius, since bike racks for a Prius are ridiculously expensive (none come standard on my model).

  4. Mike says:

    I have a rack for my Prius. A Yakima, from REI. They even installed it. I guess it fits the riduculously expensive definition. And the wind drag reduces my mpg average! Guess the best thing to do is just ride it.

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