Sunday, March 04, 2007

Riding The Citizen

After a two day lay-off I was crazy to get out on the bike this morning and looking forward to my first real ride on the Citizen folding bike. Annie, you'll remember, took hers with her to California and rode it every day for a week, but today was my first opportunity for a real ride since our regular rides are in the shop being tuned after a hard riding winter. By the way, I'm not sure I ever mentioned that we both ride Trek Navigators; Annie a 300 and me a 200. They have been wonderful to us and allowed us to learn to feel very comfortable riding and to ride smoother, safer and faster than we rode on those first box-store bikes we stupidly bought. But, as I mentioned the other day, we are seriously looking for a next bike. The Navigators are heavy and slow. They are weighted down with suspension we don't need, fat tires and a heavier than necessary frame. We are going back to Bustleton bikes tomorrow to test ride some alternatives and may visit other shops (again) as well.But back to today's saga. We gave ourselves a little extra time figuring that the small wheels would translate into a longer, more hard working ride. I don't think it was actually so. We did need the extra time only because I had to stop about 4 times in the first half a mile to keep adjusting the bike: the seat, the handlebars etc. But once I had it all where I wanted it we made pretty good time and had a great time. The bikes are fun to ride, that's for sure. I don't know that I'd want it for my regular, but as an occasional ride it was really fun. And the weather was perfect. We left the house with 37 degrees and light wind. The sun was just coming up and we rode in the soft sunshine of morning the entire way (despite the fact that it turned cloudier, blustery and even flurried later in the day.) I felt great. I remembered the camera and wanted a picture of us out on the path, but, of course, the batteries died. When we came home I arrived I changed them and these are pictures after we'd finished the ride, in front of our house. We rode 13.5 miles.

A friend who has been reading the blog asked about maps of the trail. I have two. One published by the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia and the other by the city. The former is a bit better than the latter. But my friend couldn't find a good map on line and I promised to look and link to one. I was sure there would be one. Well, I couldn't find anything decent and I agree with my friend that a good map on line would be good for tourism, not to mention use of the facilities. Perhaps we've just missed it, but if anyone knows let us know. Meanwhile, I'll lend my friend the hard copy maps.

I also wanted to take a minute to mention a new element on the bottom of the blog page. Actually I hadn't mentioned the new layout and template. It was kind of forced on me by changes at, but I've adjusted to it and restored all that I had on the original template plus more. One of the "plus mores" is a link to Blognet. This is a wonderful site which tries to link myriad blogs so that one can find a myriad of information on whatever one is interested in. give it a shot.

Finally,a little more BOOK NEWS:
I wanted to report on Iron Riders, by George Niels Sorenson, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co. inc. 2000. It is the story of the 1890's Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps and it is fascinating. It is filled with wonderful vintage photos and a fascinating text describing the only real experiment in the use of the bicycle on a regular basis by the U.S. Army. Despite the fact that it made a lot of sense to make more use of the bike, and in spite of the fact that this particular experiment, successful as it was, did not usher in the wide spread use of the bike in the armed services, it makes for a great story. Unfortunately the writing is a bit pedantic, more like a history teacher's monologue than the story it could have been. This made it a little daunting to read all the way through. But I did and if you do, and your interested in the quirky history of the Bicycle, you'll love it.

I also wanted to report back on the first volume of Cycle history that I bought awhile ago. It is number 16 and is the proceedings of the 16 International Cycling History Conference held at Davis, California in 2005. Talk about taking the bike seriously! I love this stuff. It is a series of perfectly academic papers of which I haven't yet read all, but have read most and found the topics much more fascinating than the papers, my typical response to academic conferences. but just the fact that there is such a conference and there are such papers is wonderful. the books are a bit pricey but little by little a buy others.


Shanyn said...

I would recommend a Breezer Uptown 8- don't let it fool you- this bike is fast, smooth riding and and the reflective tires, and dynamo generated lights (front and rear) are great for those of us out pumping at the crack of dawn. Check it out-
Comes in a step through frame too, which I am betting your wife will love (I do!)

Ira F. Stone said...

Thanks Shanyn, I've looked at a few Breezers and agree they'd be very much in the running, but, as you can read in my post today, we've made a different decision. I hope we're happy.

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