Bicycles are joy. Ride a dang bike. Bicycle thread

This is a bicycle thread.

Bicycles are one of the greatest inventions in the history of humankind, and could easily make the world a better place if more people incorporated them into their daily lives. Whether they’re used for exercise, sport, travel, or commuting, bicycles will enrich your life in ways that are obvious and surprising.

Tell us your bike stories, what you do with them, and how they have shaped you.

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I learned biking pretty late for a Danish kid (I was around 6 I think). My older brother had been holding the bike in the back. Or so I thought, as I looked over my shoulder, and much like Wile E Coyote looking down at the lack of road, I promptly hit the ground, as my mind went “I can’t bike!”

Since then, biking to school, friends’ houses, or work, bike has been a pretty constant thing in my life, including teaching my partner how to bike and seeing them enjoy it (and the sort of freedom it can offer if the infrastructure is in place).

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I love my bike but the only time I’m able to ride it is taking it to a trail. My city is one of the least pedestrian friendly cities in the country, only outdone by the rest of the south.
I have a schwinn hybrid bike 7 speed. In America every bike in a regular store is a mountain bike. For most people only mountain bikes exist. The price jump from wal mart mountain bike to bike store road bike is astronomical.

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I ride—and have for over a decade which is really wild to think about—a 2007 Bianchi Pista. That’s right, got a fixed gear bike right about when they became a cliche or sign of a “hipster” and I do not regret it. It’s a really wonderful bike and biking in general doubles as my primary mode of transportation and a very meditative activity.

Don’t know if I have any great bike stories but does anyone remember the folk punk band This Bike is a Pipe Bomb and how in the early 2000s there would be news stories in which cops would be called to “disarm” bikes with TBiaPB stickers? Well, this awesome stoner band from Richmond, VA made these hilarious stickers reading “this bike is a gravity bong” and one has lived on my bike forever and I often forget about it but it has caught the eye of numerous people over the years and there is nothing quite like saying “no I don’t use this bike to get high” to strangers.

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I’m from the Netherlands so there are pictures of three year old me on a bike. Since then I’ve gone through a fair share of bikes, some of them new but mostly second or third hand.

As a teenager I always thought having cycle bags was the dullest thing ever but BOY I’m glad I have them now. They’re great for carrying stuff!! I can put groceries in there!!

This thread also reminds me how just yesterday my grandma was talking about how she used to bring three of her children to school on one bike and the funny thing is that this didn’t even sound super absurd to me.

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My bicycle role model is a teacher I had in late elementary school who cared deeply about being an active participant in society, and wanted to pass that on to us despite the fact the we were only 10 years old. He had us read the newspaper in class and identify who was saying what in each story, so that we knew how identify biases in reporting. We wrote papers about TV commercials we watched to identify the techniques advertisers used to sell us products. And he went through great personal trouble to arrange one day at the end of the school year to teach us all how to be better bike riders.

Nearly every day, year round, he showed up to school on one of his 5 or so bikes depending on the conditions outside, which is impressive given that he lived nearly 11 miles and an extra 800 feet in elevation away. On roads. In Anchorage, Alaska. In the mid 90s before it was a really bike friendly place. Despite all this he was never that spandex guy, checking his times, and obsessing over new gear. He found joy in bicycling and spread it to whoever he could.

I was a pretty lost when I came back home from my first year in college and needed some kind of center in life. I was thinking of my teacher when took $500 of the money I made working that summer and bought a mid range aluminum, hardtail, mountain bike. Over the next 8 years I used that bike for commuting, pulling a pedicab, and a nearly 2 month bike tour. I’ve met international bike tourers, homeless bike-guys, co-organized a Critical Mass ride, met friends through bike polo and alley cat races. That initial $500 investment gave me more experiences than any other singular thing in my life.

I’m a little less dirtbaggy now and have a couple of good long-term steel frame bikes that I will maintain for years and years to come. They are my most prized possessions and I look forward to whatever they help me see next.

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That’s a bummer that your city is so car-centric. Is there any local riding scene at all?

I haven’t used it, but bikesdirect.com has really insane prices for decent quality bikes. I think you can get a Motobecane road bike with good components for under $400 on there sometimes.

I started riding through necessity. Not total poverty, but enough to realise that I would save enough money riding to University every day to make back the cost of the bike easily, and money was hard enough that I was looking to save it wherever I could.

I like it, and its one of the few places that I feel truly happy, but that is still a rare occurrence as it requires a certain state of mind which I don’t often get into.

One other thing that a very good friend of mine told me once, which was eye opening was;

See how obvious it is, as a cyclist, that car drivers treat you as either invisible, second-class citizens, or worse sub human. That, extrapolated to every aspect of life is what life is like for women in modern patriarchal society.

This was a pretty eye-opening statement.

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I started riding again maybe 5 or 6 years ago as a way to exercise. Last summer I upgraded to a road bike and as someone else noted, the cost jump from mountain or hybrid to road is substantial even if like me you get Trek’s cheapest road bike. Expensive as it may have been though, it glides in a way my hybrid never did while giving me a unique sense of happiness. The weather so far this summer hasn’t been all that great here in Illinois. I prefer the heat and if it’s not raining then it’s been unseasonably cool. I have plenty of trails by me so I don’t have to worry about oblivious drivers except for when I’m crossing the street.

My car died in February and my wife and I decided not to get another one. I went to my local bicycle collective (where my good friend works) and made a bike! It’s a 70s Schwinn Caliente frame, but I built everything on top of it. I highly recommend everyone look up local bike collectives! Building the bike took around $150, and it’s much nicer than a new bike from a bike store.

I work nearly full time and go to university full time so I bike 3x/week (with public transit) and carpool with my wife 2x/week. It’s helped my powerlifting lots, and it also feels good to be outside rather than inside my office/school all day.

Edit: we’ve also saved a TON of money not paying for gas and insurance

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There might be some decent smaller ones, but the people I see on bikes most often are the ones fully kitted up like they are about to hit the tour de France.
I’ve going to be replacing bits of my bike piece by piece. Just got new tubes. Next on the list is a kickstand and maybe some new brake wire stuff. I know nothing about bike maintenance I just watch people on YouTube and give it a go.

If you’re doing your own repairs, I highly recommend Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintainance - and there is a MTB version also.

Alternatively, the Park Tool Guides are also usually excellent, and cover 99% of any home repairs/maintenance you might do https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help

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Love biking. Never reflected much on it since it’s always been such a natural part of my life. I live in a small town so it’s easy and fast to get wherever I want. But I do dread when I eventually move to a bigger city, with way more cars, that it will be much more dangerous and I probably won’t want to do it as much.

I hate cars with a fiery passion, I hate how cities are built around them, I hate how they are everywhere. Build speed bumps every ten meters in all cities, let’s start there.

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I can’t even ride a bike… I’m 28…

nah. public transit is the actual answer. It’s all the middle class’ fear of poor people. Roads are fine, there’s just too many vehicles on them.

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I live where public transit is available and functional, where it’s easy and safe to bike, yet people choose to drive. I’m not gonna speculate on the reasons for this. I believe cars need to removed with regulation, legislation and by rebuilding the cities.

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hello yes I am a 3-season bike commuter and general bike lover. i have too many bikes although I just sold one so I don’t have as too many as I used to do.

bikes are cool and good thanks here are pictures of my favorite bikes

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Just moved countries to one that’s far more bike friendly than London and I am so hyped to get back out there and start cycling properly again. Too many friends in London had had bad experiences (car doorings, mostly) for me to feel comfortable out there.

Next step is figuring out how to transport my bike out here!

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Anyway, my Bike Story is that I used to be super, super, super fat and unhealthy and unfit and when I was bout 28 years of age I decided that I didn’t want to be like that for my whole life so I bought a shitty bike and discovered that the sensation of the wind in my face and stuff transported me back to my childhood, so I started riding like ten or fifteen miles a day until i wore out the Target bike and then I bought a better bike and kept riding and eventually I lost a hundred and twenty pounds and I love riding bikes because it makes me feel like a kid even though i’m really not

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Great point! Collectives are a great way to go if you have limited cash to spend on a new bike. I wouldn’t disparage anybody getting in whatever bike is available to them, but having a well tuned bike with quality -not necessarily expensive-components is ideal.

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