Another winter bike for my wife ❄🚲
A confession: I am terrible at looking after my bikes in the winter. With the salt on the roads my bikes tend to get trashed. In particular the gears and the chain. I should wash them. I intend to wash them and then… I just don't wash them. 🤷
Back in 2017, I had a plan. To find a new bike with an internal hub (or perhaps single speed), with a belt drive (or at least a full chain guard) and hub brakes. I never quite found what I wanted and then one day when my derailleur started playing up again and the chain came off. I decided to try commuting via unicycle. I learnt to unicycle as a kid and I have always having one lying around (even when I have not used it for years). I meant to do it temporarily for a bit of fun. When it turned out quicker and less tiring that I expected, I kept at it a bit longer. My plan was to carry on just until I found the perfect bike, or winter arrived, whichever came sooner. When winter did arrive I found it wasn't actually that bad and I carried on unicycling through the winter and pretty much ever since. I never did get that bike! 😃
Recently my wife encountered the same problem. When the snow arrived at the end of November, she discovered her winter bike had problems. Well one problem… rust, lots of rust. She actually has two bikes. A nice one, that she loves and she uses for most of the year, and another one she tolerates. This one is only used for the winter. She does not want to use the nice one in the winter because she knows it will likely get destroyed.
Because of the expectation that it will not last, her winter bike is a "cheap as possible", crappy, mountain bike. The cost of fixing it now likely exceeds its value. Though we won't throw it away. Either I will give it away to someone (or an organisation) that fixes up old wrecks, or I will eventually get it fixed up myself (and the sell it, likely for less than the time and money I spent on getting it working again). In the mean time she needed a new "winter bike" ASAP, as she commutes daily by bike.
I started by looking for bikes that were close to my old ideal, since I cannot expect my wife to take up unicycling. This was a struggle, we did not really want to spend more than the cost of her nice bike. That ruled out things like belt drives. Her relatively short height and the fact that it is the winter, also made it pretty hard to find something second hand but eventually we found a nice basic, internally geared, 7 speed for a reasonable price, in the style of a classic "city bike". It has a v-brake on the front but a coaster brake on the back.
I just finished up putting on studded tyres and took it for a test ride. She is all ready for tomorrow. Now I just have to think about what to do with the old bike, so I don't start another collection of old, broken bikes… again! 😆
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