Alex in Transit(ion)

A great site

Leave a comment

The problem with having the best commuter bike ever…

Isn’t it always the case? That we always want whatever we buy to be the best? Whether it’s a TV, a house, or in my case, a bicycle, we always want our investments to be worth it.

Slowly but surely, I am outfitting my bicycle to be the best commuter bike you’ve ever seen. Fenders? Check. Rack? Yep! Bell? Of course! Phone holder? Well, originally, I always clipped my iPod case to my brake cable, but ever since Spotify came into my life, the iPod is retired and I had to get a phone holder so I’m not stuffing it in my bra all the time. I’m so proud of my bike…

…and I’m also scared for it too. Newark is Newark and I need to purchase grade A locks because I’m sure it’s going to be eyed by thieves. In Albany, I was able to get away with using a $15 Kevlar cable and I’m sure I could even get away with it here on Florida’s Space Coast but in Newark, that cable would be clipped through in minutes. Actually, any lock, now matter how expensive or secure the company may claim it to be, can be broken through with an angle saw.

However, even though your bike is never truly secure when it’s locked, it doesn’t mean that you can’t give thieves a hard time if they want to steal your bike. I’m planning on locking my bike three different ways so that if they want to steal it, they’ll have to work on it. My bike also has decals about how it has a carbon fork, which I think is a stupid move on Raleigh’s part because anyone who knows bikes wants a carbon fork since it dampens out the road vibrations. I feel the carbon decals encourages people to steal your bike so my mission is to find some stickers to cover them up! 

Leave a comment

I bought a bike.

One of the things that I have been meaning to do is to buy a brand new bicycle and I’m happy to say that the day finally came. For a year, I’ve been saving to buy a performance hybrid.

When I was growing up, I was always accustomed to riding mountain bikes because my family lives on a dirt road with hills all around. It wasn’t until I moved to Albany that I realized that a mountain bike has a time and a place and that is in the sticks. An example of this is when a friend and I went to North Lake in the Catskills and we attempted to ride the bike trails in the woods. I had no problem with the trails because of the mountain bike’s fat tires that are capable of handling any terrain, but his hybrid couldn’t take it because it had thin tires that struggled to get over the rocks. On the converse, cities call for nice, fast, and nimble bikes that you can zip around with little effort. His hybrid always outpaced my mountain bike and after a day of realizing the difference, it got pretty annoying that I was peddling and peddling and I wasn’t getting anywhere. 

It wasn’t until last year that I truly became immersed into the cycling lifestyle. There is nothing that thrills me more than exploring towns and cities, whether you’re a tourist or you’re a resident, through a bicycle. Unlike driving a car, you enter into this wonderful and strange community. The wonderful part being that cyclists have to be the chillest people I’ve ever met and they are always so welcoming. The strange part is that even those who are not cycling with you, such as motorists (well, some motorists- let’s be real, a good 90% of them tend to be rude and you wonder if they may be the cars that end your life) and pedestrians think you’re the coolest person on the street. You develop that identity: the girl on the bike.

Unfortunately, due to how busy I am from my career (although I wouldn’t have it any other way), I was making good on riding my bike every single month from April 2011 to March 2012…but then life started getting in the way and since I live on the coast now, I guess I traded the beach for my bicycle. I haven’t been to the ocean since 2008 and I’m taking advantage of swimming in it every chance I get (never would I imagine swimming in March!), so I guess it’s a decent trade off until I find myself back in the Northeast.

But just like how Mufasa appeared out of the clouds said “it’s time, Simba,” (that doesn’t make any sense, but play along here), well, my birthday is Sunday and I realized that I finally had enough money to buy a decent performance hybrid. I also found out a couple of weeks ago that I was accepted to go to graduate school at Rutgers-Newark and I plan to commute to campus via my bicycle and the train, so it was time to invest in a solid bike that could get me around the city. After a year of test riding Trek, Jamis, Cannondale, and Raleigh bicycles, I fell in love with the Raleigh Cadent. I discovered it last November when I was killing time my old neighborhood in DC. For some reason, I never entered the shop when I lived there two years ago, but I finally decided to stumble on in and see what a bicycle and locksmith shop was all about and there it was. Sleek. Sexy (yes, there is a such thing as sexy bicycle and it’s even sexier when there’s a cute cyclist riding it). Fast. It was it and JS Cyclery in Melbourne had it special ordered for me. It would have been cheaper to buy a used bike but if there’s anything I’ve learned over this year, it’s that bike frames for short people are so rare and even ordering this was a little bit of a hassle with fitting. 

I look forward, after my journey here is over, to dominating the trails with it, exploring Newark (I’m sure there are some lovely parts of the city to ride in, if not there’s always Brooklyn) and embarking on the Erie Canal Tour next year. I’m still debating on whether or not to install a bike rack. It would be handy for school but I usually cycle with a backpack on and I don’t know how it would feel cycling with all of that weight in the back. I know I will definitely need the most heavy duty bike lock (or maybe bike locks) I can find now that I will be planning to spend the better two years of my life in the NY Metro area and also outfit it with a lot of lights because my worst nightmare is getting hit by a car and in my opinion, one lightset is not enough to be visible on the roads. 

I can’t think of a good way to end this. But, ah, it feels so good to write again!