Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hot Husband has a new ride!

The new picture in the dictionary next to "happy."
Here's my man, all jazzed because he has his first new bike in about 14 years. (Ok, there was that brand new mountain bike he got a couple of years ago that he traded for a rifle because he got a screaming deal on a friend's mountain bike, but I think this one's staying.)

What you're seeing is more than a Motobecane Fantom Cross Team cyclocross bike. It's his well-deserved bonus for absolutely taking the high road for years in an tough employment situation. If we could afford to give him a sabbatical, we would, but right now he'll have to settle for the bike and the promise that someday, I will be his sugar mama.

I digress.

Hot Husband tries to bike to work as often as his schedule and the weather allows. While he would rather get his workout high from trail running, he also gets out on his bike for exercise, so this bike is an excellent fit for him. It has enough performance oomph to bring back flashes of his triathlon days, he can use slick or knobby tires depending on the weather, and it has braze-ons for a bike rack and panniers.

Its inaugural ride was last week, on an amazing bike adventure we took together while his parents were in town, generously watching the kids so we could have a break. More on that later.

For now, it's great to see him geeking out over his new wheels.

Working with his bike-loving dad to get it dialed in

Delicately handling his precious new toy, ready to ride

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mixte on the brain

I can tell my bike brain is back.

When I had a little free time this week, thanks to my in-laws, I didn't pick shopping, reading or napping. I grabbed my bike. Yeah, 30 miles sounded about right.

When Hot Husband and I had the chance to get away for a couple of days and an overnight, what was the plan? Road biking around Lake Koocanusa, roughly an hour away.

What am I doing in the early morning hours before everyone else wakes up? Writing blog posts and researching my next bike purchase.

As usual, I have three candidates:

Sexy: a vintage mixte
Elle and Jay are always telling me that technology has improved so much that I don't want to waste time fiddling around with an old bike when I can have a nice new one, but I can't help myself. I love the lines, affordability ($100 - $400-ish) and simplicity of mixtes. They say "enjoy" rather than "perform."

There's a Peugeot on eBay right now that would be a great candidate. From the little bit of research I've been able to do, it seems like it's not a high-end bike, but it already has upright handlebars, fenders and a bike rack, which would save me a lot of time and expense. It's not dirt cheap, but it's not unreasonable. Hot Husband says it would be a great place to start learning about mixtes, so I should just get it already.

Practical: Xtracycle FreeRadical
While my heart says "mixte," my head wants this cargo hauler. Having its carrying capacity would allow me to run errands, carry gear while I'm biking with the dudes, and even carry them and a bike with a flat home if I had to. Been in that position before, and it ain't fun.

The setup I want would run me about $600 and I could use my Jamis as the donor bike. I'd just need to add upright handlebars and get a big tuneup.

Fantasy: Sweetpea A-Line
If I had to have one bike, this would be it. No, I haven't ridden one, seen one, or even touched one, but I love it. The A-Line is a show-stopper that also delivers on performance and comfort. And it's hand built by the smart and very cool Natalie Ramsland.

Interesting that even though I would love to sing a rock opera aria to this bike, I really don't have much to say about it. It's just right. The $3,000 price tag doesn't even make me flinch, because I know what I'm getting for my money: a bike that fits me perfectly and will offer me years of pure pleasure.

Oh, which to choose?
The short answer, for the short term is none of the above. We're lucky enough to have a buyer for our house in Bozeman, but we're taking a very painful financial hit on selling it. I'm not asking for sympathy here, since many people have it worse than we do in this economy, but it's gonna take a year or two to recover from the loss. In the meantime, there are a lot of places where our money could go in order for the whole family to benefit.

But I'm an optimistic girl. So many good things have happened during our move from Bozeman that I can't feel sorry for myself for long. I'll keep my head up and my eyes open. I'm sure that something wonderful will come my way when I need it.