Category Archives: help wanted

Some bike questions for my reading audience

So I’m back in Ohio for 3 months, but I’m pleasantly surprised (and a little bit worried too) to find that almost all of my friends are in Cincinnati right now too. Anyone from the Rust Belt knows this rarely happens since everyone (including myself) is always trying to run as far away as possible, but thanks to the shitty economy and everyone trying to actually graduate this spring, about 90% of the people I’ve been hanging out with since I was 17 are back in town. For better or worse, though, I’m sitting in my childhood home on my parents farm 40 miles from campus because I’m cheap and I didn’t want to pay rent or have to buy groceries and I only need to be at school two days a week.

On the “for the better” side of this, I actually have money right now. And I also have a real job lined up in New Orleans starting in July (I thought I’d reassure you all that I’ll be back soon and not leaving for more than a week or two ever again!). That leads me to why I’m posting this – I need some more bikes. I only have one bike, the lovely champagne-colored Nishiki mixte you’ve probably seen me riding around on. I love that bike and I would U-lock the hell out of anyone who ever tried to steal it (keep that in mind encase you were considering that), but it’s not that fast and I can’t take it off-road.

I’m thinking of getting some type of cyclocross bike to fix that problem. There are a number of single-speed cyclocross bikes out there and Surly makes the Crosscheck frame that can be easily set up with a single-speed of flip-flop hub. I’d have to build that baby from the ground up though, and while I’m up for the challenge, I’m wondering if it is really cheaper than buying a complete bike. I’ve been scooping out the Specialized Tricross Singlecross but I’ve heard mixed reviews about alumnimum frames and carbon forks. Whenever I go to the bike shop in Oakley, I usually drool over the Salsa Casseroll Single which is really flexible in how the wheels/tires are set up and is made with CroMoly which I’ve been riding on for years now and have been happy with. These is also the Bianchi San Jose which I haven’t seen at any bike stores but heard good things in online forums. I’m not exactly sure what else is out there in the under $900 price range.

A lot of the fixed-gear and single speed road bikes on the market are automatically ruled out because of their standover height. The max standover I can do with something with a straight top-tube is 28.5.” 27.5″ or 28″ would be ideal. Most of those bikes are at 29″ or more for the smallest size available. Discrimination against girls and short dudes if you ask me. I think I need to send some angry letters to Surly because the 49 cm Steamroller is too big for me! I can ride 49’s in other brands like Specialized, but the 49 Surlys are way too big. The Crosscreck comes in a 42 and 46, so that’ll work out.

I’ve also found myself up a creek trying to find a bike on craigslist. Everything is too big and bikes that aren’t too big are traditional “women’s style” frames which is not what I’m looking for. In frustration, I’m thinking I’ll just buy new.

My dad, who is totally awesome, trash picked an old on road/off road bike for me this winter. It’s not something I’d want to make into a regular rider, but I think I’m going to fix it up anyway and leave it at mom and dads for when I visit. It has gears (which I think work) so I’ll put some off-road tires on it and take that baby out on the trail. I’d like to take my future cyclocross bike out on the trail too, but the one-speed might be tough in Ohio. A one-speed cyclocross bike should be pretty awesome though for any off-road trails in Louisiana and out terrible roads in New Orleans.

So what I need from you, oh dear readers, is some advice on what type of bike I should buy. Should I just get a road bike and pick up some old mountain bike on craigslist? Should I not give up on finding a small frame on craigslist so quickly? Can you solve all my problems and just sell me your bike? But really, give me some advice on this. In the mean time, I’ll be visiting all the bike shops in Cincy on Wednesday and see what’s around.

Oh, and PS…I need bff bike mechanic in New Orleans. I’m super sad about mine planning on moving away not only because he was really good at showing me how to fix my bike, but because he’s a good friend and a top-notch adventure buddy. I’m working on trying to get my bff bike mechanic in Cincinnati to move to New Orleans but I’m not sure I’ll suceed. He’s not done with school and has a girlfriend who doesn’t graduate for like 2 years. My other bff bike mechanic lives in San Franciso and don’t ever get me started on how crushed I am about that. If you’d like to fill those shoes of these fine young men, send an e-mail to me and tell me how awesome you are. If you are indeed as awesome as you say you are and you can fix bikes just as well as anyone who works in a shop, I’ll make you cookies and dinner in exchange for helping me with bike issues and we’ll go on awesome bike adventures and get drunk every weekend. If you help me rebuild a bike, I’ll buy all the beer too. This is a serious job here, so only send serious inquries. Men and women are welcome to apply, but the position is only open to those who are young adults or very young at heart. It is quite likely I’ll never like you as much as Willie, Dave, or Rafe, but you can make an effort.