Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pondering Bicycle Choices

Before I came to Israel to work, I was about to buy a tandem recumbent bicycle so that my wife and I could exercise together. My first choice was this Easy Racer tandem.

The problem with this was how to transport it. We weren't ready to sell the car and use this as our main source of transportation so we wanted something we could haul to the beach on a standard bicycle rack with a minimum of hassle.

Then I found this Columbia Tandem from Barcroft.

And it fits on a rack without folding or disassembly.

I was all set to order one of these tandems when I got called away to work in a far away land. So, now that I'll be returning home should I pick up where I left off?

Since I've been gone the price of gasoline has skyrocketed so bicycle commuting to work is an option that I've got to consider. No need to car pool with a bicycle so the tandem will have to wait for now.

So, what are my commuting options? I've got a cheap hybrid bicycle that I was thinking about adding an electrical assist in order to get over the hill between my house and where I work. However, there is this site called and I was able to map a route that avoided the hill and the heaviest traffic. Here's a route that looks promising.

This got me thinking, could I combine my exercise and commute? When I'm at home I have to get up and hour early to exercise then drive about 45 minutes to work. I should be able to do this 14 mile commute via bicycle in about an hour. Returning from work by car usually takes about an hour because of traffic, sometimes more, much more. However with a bicycle it should take an hour or maybe less because it is mostly downhill and I won't be concerned about building up a sweat and having to stew in my juices the whole work day. The downside is that it is usually dark when I get off work and of course there is the possibility of rain. No big deal, I've exercised in the rain and in the dark, I can deal with it.

So how about a little fun and instead of spending on an electric assist I get a new bicycle? I'm fond of recumbents so a nice fast one would make the commute more enjoyable, like this sleek Bacchetta.

I've been very interested in the front wheel drive Cruzbike and adding an electric assist on this bike is an intriguing option.

Of course if I'm really serious about exercise fixed gear is the way to go. Sure it may be the latest fad, but it is also great exercise (no coasting)--and I don't have to pay gym membership to enroll in a spinning class. I'd probably be a bit of a prude to add a front break, but better safe than road kill. The coolest thing about this choice is that I could get an old frame, convert it to fixed gear myself and have a very hip rig without spending a fortune.

Of course if money is no object, there are lots of carbon fiber tri, trials, road, track, beauties like this Superbike from Bike Technologies Australia.