I’m on a quest for a new bike. This quest has taken me on an emotional roller coaster. I fall in love with one bike, convince myself this is the perfect solution – only to feel a strong hesitation that it isn’t just right.
Rivendell bikes are a thing of beauty. They are lugged steel bikes that I have lusted over for quite some time. They are meant for transportation, for fun, for anything other than the racing-inspired designs found in most bike stores. I’ve learned a lot about bikes from reading the writings on the Rivendell site. Grant Peterson, the founder of Rivendell, has a way of writing about bikes that cuts through the ego-driven crap most manufacturers seem to spout and gets me to just truly get it. Both Dottie over at Let’s Go Ride A Bike and Micheal of EcoVelo ride Rivendell’s Betty Foy bike. Velouria at Lovely Bicycle owns a Sam Hillborne as does Alan of EcoVelo. They are awesome bikes, about as perfect as it gets in my book. The only reason I’m not going for one this time around is budget. I don’t have the money to build up a Rivendell, but when I do I know this will be the bike for me.
The other bike line I’ve been following for some time is Public Bikes. Public bikes share a similar styling and look to Rivendell, though most certainly not quite the same advanced quality. Public bikes are reasonably priced, great looking steel bikes from a company based here in San Francisco.
I thought I made up my mind when I found an email I had from Public for 20% off of a blue diamond frame model. The day after I found this email, Public was closed. I did my research and found another local bike shop that offered Public bikes and headed over there for a test ride. Turns out, the bike shop had none available. In fact, the bike shop explained to me that they chose not to carry the bikes, though they could order one for me if I insisted. I was told that the bike shop owner was a consultant to Public in the design of the bikes but was not happy with how the bikes turned out, and therefore won’t carry them. I went home only more confused and ready to do some more research.
…And so the hunt continues.