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So, I love love love Matilda my 3-speed Kunstadt Glebe, but this, the third summer of our life together, I'm running up against her limitations quite a lot: I need more gears, she's heavy (I don't know exactly what she weighs but it's roughly twice what [personal profile] random's Norco does, even though it's an XL, leading to my thighs becoming ever more womanly and him being deeply impressed at my ability to carry it up steps and keep up with him on trails), I had to replace the lovely seat because it starts to hurt like hell at 50 km, and the frame is on the bleeding edge of being too small for me, because while I am only 5'7" I have stupidly long legs and arms, which means the seat is so high she's kind of top-heavy and the handlebars, set as high as they'll go, are still lower than I'd prefer.

It turns out that while I'm a utility rider, and I will probably continue to waltz Matilda all over Ottawa, my natural distance is, well, medium-long. It turns out that I feel wobbly and weak and thirsty and crabby for the first 5 km of every serious ride not because I'm out of shape but because it takes me 10-15 km to get warm, loose, and happy. So there is probably some gentle touring in my future, and Matilda isn't the bike for that.

I've been looking at the MEC Mixed Tape for a while now, and now it's on sale, which MEC being MEC suggests it may be going away entirely or else being radically altered for next season. So now I need to make a call: am I buying this bike?

The main con it presents from my POV is that I love Kunstadt. I adore them. They are my bike shop forever, but they just do not have the bike I need.

However: I don't know a tonne about bikes. I'm learning — my tool kit and ability to fix minor issues is improving radically. I'm learning the lingo, but DAMN there is SO MUCH.

So, as I know there are many people here very fluent in Bike:

Is there a bike of which I am not aware which beats this bike and that you want to tell me about?

There are certain features I absolutely need in a bike, or else have decided I don't want to do without:

1) I require a step-through frame or a LOW mixte. The advantages of a diamond frame are entirely irrelevant unless you're getting me a new left hip, so please assume I'm aware of them and don't need to be told. Please also assume that I've read enough blog posts on how crap step-throughs are that I'm defensive on the topic and may bite if you take this as an invitation to air your theory, which you're certain will be new to me, about the crapness of step-throughs.

2) I require an almost entirely upright riding position. Again, unless you're an orthopedic surgeon looking for shoulders to rebuild, please don't try to convince me otherwise. My skeleton is hooped, and while conditioning can palliate this, it's going to stay hooped and throwing my weight onto my shoulders while I ride will lead to pain and injury.

3) I'm willing to put up with a lot of compromises to have an internal hub, and after serious research have concluded that the Nexus 7 is reliable, rugged, and possessed of all the ratio I expect to need anywhere in Ontario or Quebec I can forsee riding to in the next decade. It seems to be the sweet spot of affordable, effective, and reliable - the newer hubs have more gears but also more problems.,

4) I'm not willing to spend my life at the bike shop, so ruggedness and tolerance of the crappy pavement around here are more important than super low weight or incredible performance.

5) I'm not looking to pay a lot more than this - this is nearly twice what I paid for Matilda and that seemed like a lot at the time - though for the right bike I'd trawl second-hand bike ads. I love the Electra 7-is I've ridden, but they're heavy and yeowch the price.

I need it to be available in Ottawa, or at a stretch Toronto or Montreal. I'm not happy with the notion of buying a bike I have not test-ridden.

So. Anyone want to tell me about a bike I should test-ride before I go for this one?

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth. where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there as you prefer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
You're not alone in starting off wobbly and weak and thirsty and crabby. That always happened to me, too, when I toured. The second hour is always the easiest.

I don't know where you might find one in Ottawa, but a recumbent might suit you. I have also seen some semi-recumbent beach cruisers.

My current bicycle has an electric motor in the hub. It is a Prodeco Stride. Because of the MS I am too weak to ride my regular bicycle any more. I don't think you are seeking an electric bike, but the reason I am telling you about it is that it is a ginormous step-thru. Like, the amazon reviewers grumble about the giant size of it. Suits me since I am very tall, yet have these physical limits that make a step-thru mandatory. I wonder if their frame supplier supplies anyone else?
There are some good recumbents around here: I'm not looking at them right now because I'm too chicken to take one touring - the Trans-Canada Trail and most other trails around here have stretches on highways, and I don't want to be that low down. That, and they tend to be really pricey.
I just did some searching and found the semi-recumbents I am thinking of. They are not so low and they look easier to ride. Apparently the techie name is "crank forward".

http://www.bike123.com/crank%20forward.htm

My current house is on a recreational trail and I see all kinds of things go by here. I wish you could shop from my front porch. :)
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My favourite bike shop might have something for you. Free Cycle is their name. They have a bunch of step through frames in a range of weights and gears. Fosters on Bank also used to have these. Is a Mountain Bike top frame too tall? If not, they have a more upright style than road bikes. I highly recommend aluminum frames as a lighter weight bike.

The more i think of your needs, i think you should consider folding bikes.Thestep throughis amazing, they emphasise hardiness and portability and are generally amazing. There used to be a Brompton dealer in town...tall tree or something like that.

And of course there are http://www.pashley.co.uk/bikes/bicycles.php pashley bikes are beyond beautiful. Fosters carries them and many come with internal hubs in 3 5 or 7 ranges. And sprung brooks saddles

http://www.pashley.co.uk/bikes/bicycles/princess-sovereign.php look at this one. 8 gear hub, step through frame, chain guard and dress protector. Just look
I have no idea if this is what Commodorified is looking for, but that is just lovely!