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so you may have noticed…

January 23, 2011

…that I haven’t been around much lately.

That’s because I really am not around. I flew back to Toronto just after new years, and I am now a human popsicle.

I long for the temperate winter of Tokyo, where cold meant I needed a sweater AND a layer on top, not a walking down duvet and awkward fur lined boots. I am a walking blue marshmallow. And note the “walking”. Not biking.

What to do about the biking….

I read all these bike blogs about people in Chicago and stuff toughing it out through the snow and slush. And in Tokyo I thought I was pretty committed. Now I’m wondering if wanting to cycle here means you should be committed in a different way, like to an institution.

Here are the main problems with me getting to school on a bike.

1) It’s further than it ever was before. It’s not THAT far, I would cycle that far in Tokyo easily on a daily basis, but I have never braved the cold here for a ride more than about a kilometer as I always lived closer to campus.

2) While in Tokyo I had 2 bikes to choose from, here, (having tearfully left Mabel and Maru in my brother’s care for the time being) I only have Paris. Paris is a good little bike. But LITTLE. 16 inch wheels. I have friends whose babystroller wheels are bigger than my bike wheels. She’s lovely, but she’s not made for long treks in the snow.

3) Gear. I have no idea what kind of gear I need to do this. If I dress like I’m going to freeze, I think I will over heat, and vice versa. I can’t wear boots on a bike (can I?) so what do I do about warm footwear? And coats will be a problem too, especially on Paris.

So then, er, uh, I found myself looking at bikes on Craigslist. And gulp, yes, I am considering purchasing another bike. Just a short term, second hand, kinda thing. Partly because any good bike will get ruined by the weather, so I might as well get one that’s part way to being damaged but cheaper. So I may very well have another bike soon. But really, if you figure in the international thing, it’s not that excessive, right? right….?

On a side note, I’d like to take a moment to rave about Paris who was recently freed from her cold life in a storage locker. I brought Paris back from Tokyo about 8 years ago in my suitcase. She was the cheapest, lightest, smallest fold up I could get. It was right in the middle of the fold up bike boom there. I paid about $250 for her, and instead shelved my ideas of coming home with a shiny new digital camera or mp3 player (back before they were all apple and were still shiny new gadgets very few people had).

So Paris has been around a while, and she was never a top of the line bike. I mean, the brand name is “paris” and under that it says “Gentleness wraps me up” or something. And today when I pumped up her teeny tiny tires, I noticed, a few things I hadn’t before because, honestly, I had little interest in bikes until this year.

She has disk brakes. I don’t know why. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I thought it was a bit odd.

She has NO RUST, whatsoever, despite being ridden in the rain of Vancouver and the snow of Toronto. She is scratched in many places, but not a hint of rust, even on the chain. And the closest I have comet to doing maintenance on her is spraying a little dw40 on her chain last year. A few times I used sewing machine oil cause it was all I had. Oh, and once I had an inner tube changed because she had a slow leak.

Her brake pads are still in fantastic condition. How is that? After 8 years, you think they would wear down, or go brittle or something.

She has lugs on her front fork. And only there.

And kind of exciting to me, I had thought the stem and handle bars were one moulded piece so while I was away, I had shelved any dreams of giving her a bit of a handlebar and seat makeover. But they are separate, and I think I could do the change myself. I’m seriously considering giving her cork ends at least cause the plastic grips are cheezy.

So. New (second hand) bike? Yes? No? …. I saw a lovely loop frame in blue for only $55 bucks…..

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