Is your bike a forever bike? (page 2) - CycleBlaze

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Is your bike a forever bike? (page 2)

John SaxbyTo Kelly Iniguez

Thanks, Kelly.  Slick machine -- nice countryside, too!  As Mike says, your Rohloff will last a long long time.

I currently have just two bikes:  A Thorn Mercury Mk 3 (mit Rohloff), which I bought new in spring 2022.  I've named it "Freddie", for obvious reasons.  And, a city/errands bike, a Miele (Canadian name-only variant, not the Proper Italian Job) San Remo road bike which I bought in 2019 from the bike-recycling community organization of which I'm a member. I converted the road spec to errands spec by changing bars, stem and brakes.  Shim V-brakes replaced the cantis, which were really just (as the politicians say) "aspirational".

The Mercury is Thorn's high-end light/medium touring bike.  To finance it, I sold two bikes:  One was my Thorn Raven (mit Rohloff) medium-heavy touring bike, which I bought in 2014.  The other was a nice ti-framed Eclipse light-touring triple, which I bought in the winter of 2002-03, as a treat to take with me when we went to live & work in South Africa for three years.  The link between the Raven & the Eclipse is this:  Nice as the Eclipse was, I spent approx 15 years trying to get the gearing working properly, i.e., so that I didn't think about it.  After a decade and about three rear derailleurs & cogsets, I found myself halfway up the biggest hill in Eastern Ontario, unable to get my low-x-low gear on a bike loaded with camping gear.  "Jeezus wept," sez I to myself. "There must be a better way."

That winter, I did some research, learned about Thorn, and joined the Church of Rohloff.  I bought my Raven that winter, and named it "Osi".  This is short for "Osibisa", and it's my homage to the splendid UK/Ghanaian band by that name, whose travellin' song, "Woyaya", is forever in my memory.  Osi carried me over thousands of enjoyable kilometres in North America, Europe and 'Straya, with the only problems being a couple of punctures to my Marathon Supremes in 2014/15.  My criterion of mechanical excellence is that I don't think about the item in question.  Over all those years, I rarely thought about the gears, except to say now and then, "Dang! This Rohloff is sooo good!"

Early in 2022, however, the double-A phrase, "age'n'arthritis" was becoming far too prominent in daily life.  I learned I would have hip-replacement surgery later that year, so I sold both my Raven and my Eclipse (I had finally sorted the gearing in 2018), and they part-financed Freddie.  They're now part of the BSE -- the Before Surgery Era.  Osi went to a friend of our daughter.  She didn't blink when I told her the price, $2700 and change.  I said, think of it this way: "A new Rohloff will cost you $2000 or so with sales tax included.  For $2700, you get a Rohloff that's nicely broken-in, with about 15,000 kms on it and a new rear sprocket.  I'll throw in the rest of the bike, spares and bags for $500."  Two years later, she's over the moon about the simplicity and reliability of the Rohloff.

Freddie can do most of what the other two bikes did:  Unloaded, it's nearly as nippy as the Eclipse, and I'm pretty sure I'll not do any of the heavy touring that Osi could handle.

Here's a photo from the fall of 2022:

Freddie in the back yard, Oct '22

Oh, and the hips:  The new joints work just fine.  The muscles on the left side (both hip, glutes and quads) continue to require daily stretching and strengthening.  But, I did a 180-km overnight last September with no problem, and there's a weeklong mini-tour of West Québec in the offing for early July, weather & wildfires permitting.

Enjoy the ride, lass!

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1 month ago
John PickettTo Kelly Iniguez

I bought a Specialized Sequoia commuter bike (in Europe it was sold as a touring bike) in 1991. Ten years later I was about to get rid of it but a smart mechanic solved a nagging problem with a ten-cent headset washer. The bike now has over 74,000 miles and has taken me on eight loaded tours. It fits like a glove and will probably outlast me. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat if they still made them. 

Oddly, I bought my Tour Easy recumbent when I couldn't find another Sequoia or, for that matter, any comparable touring bike. My Tour Easy now has over 50,000 miles and is still in great shape as far as I can tell. (I had to replace the fork after a crash and it was a real hassle. I found one in Alfred NY.) I'll probably send it to the great bike shop in the sky when I can no longer find replacements for its proprietary parts. 

I also have a Bike Friday New World Tourist with 25,000 miles on it. I almost sold it last year because it started messing up my lower back but instead I converted it from a drop bar to an H-bar configuration. (I had to track this part down from a retailer as Bike Friday would not sell me one. Go figure.) Now I can ride it without pain again. It's a useful little bike for rides under 40 miles.

My Surly Cross Check has 28,000 miles on it and I'm may get rid of it. Something about the design just doesn't agree with my upper back and neck. I also don't much care for the compact double gearing. And it weighs a ton.

There is a risk in buying any new bike. You can spend a fortune but if you can't get it to fit perfectly, it's a waste of time and money.

So my take is that as long as the bike still fits (or can be modified to fit) and you enjoy riding it, keep it. It'll probably outlast you.

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1 month ago
John PescatoreTo Jacquie Gaudet

Once my hard earned money was required for purchasing a bike (vs. just asking Santa or being given unused bikes by neighbors) my  bikes started lasting much longer. An old Schwinn Continental lasted for years until I started trying touring and a Trek 520 replaced it. (My brother in law is still riding that 1980 vintage Schwinn!)

When my daughter was born in 1990, I joined the "two bike club" - the 520 for adult road rides and tours and a Schwinn hybrid for pulling kids/dogs in a trailer or my daughter on a third wheel on local paths/rail trails. 

Those bikes lasted until 2016 when I had my mid life biking crisis and replace them with a carbon road bike for local rides and a Jamis Renegade for the type of touring I do now. And I played Santa for my daughter and bought them hybrid bikes and a kid trail (and an extra adapter for my bike) to pull their kids on the Washington Old Dominion Rail Trail they live right next to.

So for me "a forever bike" lasts about 25 years, which means when I'm 83 I'll be looking for a new one!

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3 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo Kelly Iniguez

Kelly as I get older, I realistically calculate the number of days and kilometres I have left to ride is tangibly limited. The end isn’t nigh, but I can see it on the horizon. So I now think carefully about which bikes I use and when. I want to make good use of them.

 I have quite a few, very different types of bikes, but only three of them are designed for serious loaded touring.
A Thorn Sherpa, a Bike Friday NWT and a Curve GMX off-seal tourer. 

The Thorn Sherpa is the best of the three. So if I was forced to choose one bike to keep forever, it’d probably be the 26” wheeled Thorn Sherpa. It’s proven itself to be durable, versatile, comfortable, stable and totally reliable. 

If my touring is eventually curtailed to shorter distances, and more reliance on other travel modes, the Bike Friday 20” wheeled folder would probably be the choice as a forever bike.

Fingers crossed I don’t have to make hard choices too soon. 

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3 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kelly Iniguez

What a great looking bike!  I 

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3 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kelly Iniguez

I really love my bike Friday because it fits me perfectly, is very maneuverable, can have very low gearing for climbing and is foldable.  We won’t be back in Portland until the end of the year but I plan on ordering a new bike Friday and to get rid of the Surly Straggler that I have never liked since I need a bicycle when the other one is being worked on.  

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3 weeks ago