Monday, June 21, 2010

My bike!

I must say, I’m pretty excited about Friday.

Over 2 months ago now, my lady joined me on a bike-shopping adventure when I was misguided and looking to buy a Stryda folding bike. I knew I wanted a folding bike to keep in my apartment and to be portable enough to carry on the subway, and the Strida looked like it would fit the bill. I loved the uniqueness of the design and especially the no-hassle maintenance factor: instead of a greased chain, you have a kevlar belt which, if it’s anything like the Dark Knight’s armour, is pretty near indestructible.

As it turned out though, the Strida just wasn’t what I was looking for. It was too short for my long legs and I actually wouldn’t be able to turn the handlebars properly unless I stopped peddling. Not only that, but good as it is to toodle-about the park on, it’s nothing for long or even medium rides around town.

So, I went home a little discouraged, until I did a little more research online. The main criteria for me investing in a bike here are:

1) It needs to be portable. Though I’m lucky enough to live very close to a stream which leads right to the Han River pathways, I will likely want to cart my bike onto the subway from time to time at the end of a long ride.

2) Portability also factors-in to the ability for me to take it home to Canada when I return in the summers, and when I return to complete my university degree. I know it will come in handy in Vancouver when riding down the hill from Simon Fraser.

3) It has to be legitimate enough as a folding-bike to be solid, comfortable, and durable for the long haul.

Overall, I decided that if I am going to get a bike, it’s going to be a good one that I can take with me and keep and use for years. At this point in my life, I have a hard time throwing money at “things” that are more disposable than worth holding onto in the long run. That leads to more expensive purchases, but they are fewer and further-between, so it all evens out.

Anyway, a month later, I went back with my lady and ordered a Brompton. Here’s my bike:

I ordered the M6-L in arctic blue. The “M” refers to the “M-shaped” handle-bars. The straight ones might look prettier, but I’m tall, and I know that for long rides, the higher handle-bars will help a long-spined rider such as myself. The “6” refers to the number of gears. 6 is the highest number that you can get on a Brompton and they will do me just fine for where I’ll be going. Along the river is mostly level anyway. I went for the telescopic seat, which will help for my height and leg-extension. I also ordered the front pillar to be equipped with dynamo lighting and front luggage bracket. The rear will have a rack in case rear luggage is something I want in the future.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful thing. The bike comes from the UK and you’re welcome to read more about its merits here. Because I can't see myself ever buying a car in Korea, my bike is an investment, but a worthwhile one. This is something I’m going to use for commuting to work each day (unless there is an ass-load of snow on the ground) and I know that I’m going to be heading-out for evening and weekend rides whenever possible. The beautiful part is that it's light, sturdy as hell, and folds-up small enough to take easily on an airplane, in a car, or on the subway or a bus without pissing people off. You can watch a dude folding his Brompton here.

For pretty-much the last month, whenever I’ve been lost in thought, and someone has inquired as to why, the answer has usually been “my bike.” I’m like little Ralphie wanting his Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
The bike itself has arrived at the shop and I’m only waiting on my seat to arrive.

I’ll be heading in after work on Friday night to pick it up, and ride it home. When I lived in Calgary, my young adult summers would include an almost daily ride through Fish Creek Provincial Park, and a stop near the creek with some good reading – more often than not, Mark Twain. Still haven’t read The Prince and the Pauper, so maybe that’s first on my Korea river biking reading list.

In other news, I hope North Korea sends Portugal home tonight. There’s no way Ronaldo and crew will beat Brazil. Fingers-crossed. Oh, and France is having a colossal melt-down. Interesting stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pilsung Korea! Though Korea scares me at times with their defense. They've got a shot against Uruguay, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Nice bike, I've been seeing them Bromptons in DC a lot. I rode a Stryda as well when I was in Seoul. I didn't make it too blocks when I realized I couldn't even turn due to my legs blocking everything.

It's a great financial move as well. Think about the money saved from not taking the bus to and from school everyday. 36,000 won a month (that's 20 days worth of rides), multiply that by roughly 10 months worth of riding to school, that's 360,000 wonerinos! In Douglas currency, roughly translating into 90 Big Mac Meals (at lunch time special of course).