Aug 6 bike ride - 04

The past couple weeks, I’ve been looking at a lot of bicycles.

I’ve come to a couple of conclusions that I thought I’d put into writing.

Number one is that I have to have an upright riding stance. The Huffy Sea Trails I’ve been riding (pictured above) is better than the hybrid Trek 7000 I rode before, but I feel as though I want to sit up even higher. Last time I visited my Grandmother, Noel and I took her beach cruisers for a spin down to Walgreens about a mile away. I loved it, very upright no stress in my back or shoulders. That’s what I want.

Second observation is that I do not need — or want — more than three speeds. During our entire 8.5 mile ride last night, I did not leave the lowest gear. I’m not sure if it’s first or second because something in my shifting system is out of whack. But I thoroughly enjoyed tooling along at our slow pace. Which it turns out wasn’t all that slow since we covered the distance in about an hour including many many picture stops.

None of the hills that we hit last night were terribly steep. But we never really felt them. We just pedaled. Sometimes we pedaled a bit slower and more forcefully, and sometimes we coasted a bit. It was immense fun not worrying about it.

Not to mention that 3-speed internal hubs are extremely simple and reliable.

I had been thinking that I wanted a really fast road bike or a goat-like mountain bike. But that’s just not how I ride. I’m not into the adrenaline thing. And while I think long cross-country tours are really cool, I don’t see myself ever doing such a thing. I want to explore the back roads close to home. I want bikes to strap on the back of the camper or throw in the pickup to ride when we get where we’re going.

My thrill comes from poking along with my Beloved seeing the sights, or getting the groceries.

Thirdly, I still believe I want fatter tires. Last night our 26×1-3/8’s did okay. But I feel the balloon tires of a beach cruiser would add a bit more comfort and a lot more sure-footedness.

Finally, I want something that looks good! Something with some style! Know what I mean?

So to this end I spent last night trying to find all the beach cruiser style bikes with three-speed internal hubs that I can. And I have to say that I’m rather discouraged at what our options are, there just aren’t many good quality cruisers (that I can find).

The Trek Drift looks okay, especially in the “driftwood brown” scheme. But it has an aluminum frame and I prefer the steel and it also has no matching women’s frame. And I would really love it if Noel and I could get matching bikes.

I’d buy a Trek Calypso. I love the paint scheme, and the women’s frame is a perfect match. But it’s aluminum and it has a derailleur shifting system.

The Torker Boardwalk 3 is a strong possibility. Steel frame, internal 3-speed, matching women’s bike. My only caveat is that bright red paint, but it’s not necessarily a deal breaker.

My strongest candidate however may come as a shock to any “serious bicyclist” who finds their way to my humble blog. It is the Huffy Cranbrook. It has a steel frame, fat tires. Comes with metal fenders. I absolutely love the looks of it, and there is a (somewhat) matching women’s model. And it sells for only $75 at my local Wal-Mart.

I would ordinarily be pretty wary of such a cheap bicycle. But shortly after Noel and I were married I sold our car and bought us two Huffy mountain bikes to get around town on. One summer I commuted every day to work from Niceville, FL, to Destin, FL, on that $100 bike. The one way trip was about 15 miles. And it held up to that abuse without a single complaint. So Huffy bikes hold a place of respect in my heart.

The only problem is that it’s not a three-speed. I figured I could buy the appropriate hub and rebuild the wheel. Then I found these folks on Amazon who have done just that. They sell a 26-inch wheel with three-speed hub and all the necessary levers and cables, etc. All I have to do is swap the wheels out. Before going through all that trouble though, I intend to just ride it. I might find that I don’t even need the three speeds!

So it looks like there’s a nice, comfy beach cruiser in my bicycling future.

Though I feel a little funny, buying a $75 bike and throwing a $175 rear wheel on it. Oh … and let’s not forget my $100 saddle!

PS – Oh yeah, can’t forget, we have to get wicker baskets for them!