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New bike! Marin Belvedere 2007
I just got my first bike since junior high, and rode a bike today for the first time since high school! Many thanks to Meg for helping me pick it out and to Dan and others for listening to me ramble about what I might or might not want.

What I wound up getting was a 2007 Belvedere from Marin Bikes, in matte coal (of course). I test-rode it and it felt great, I could even shift — something I could never do in junior high or high school without losing control, damn post-shifters — and the only limit I felt with it was me!

So after accessorizing a bit, Meg and I rode home and then walked back to pick up the car. Cupertino and the South Bay in general are so bike-friendly I can tell I'm going to put a lot of miles on it just this summer, and if I get a good set of panniers there's no reason I won't be able to keep doing so into the fall and even winter.

And as tired as I am just from riding a couple miles today, it feels a hell of a lot better than contributing to the climate crisis while paying nearly $5/gallon for gasoline.

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Back when I lived in a bike-friendly area (Western Pennsylvania is *not* bike friendly), I got a couple of grocery-bag carriers for my rear rack. (well, the bike's rear rack). Made going to the grocery store actually fun. Bike a couple of miles, wander around in the air conditioning picking up a couple of bags of volume, and then biking home under load. They're easy-on-easy-off for when you use "real" panniers.

These are the pannier bags I've got: Axiom Typhoons. They're great in that they're huge (can fit my backpack in one, extra textbooks in the other) and waterproofish enough that I don't have to worry about being caught in the rain, but they're not so great for on-off convenience. I just leave them on the bike with a small combo lock run through the straps and rack. If I didn't have the problem of needing to fit a backpack in, I'd definitely go for some that are easier to carry in and out of places with me, probably some of the stiff-sided grocery bag style ones. Axiom makes some of those, too, and I've found them to be good value for the money. (I paid much less than the MSRP for my bags, which seems common.)

Also, you should change the style on your LJ so that the comment box doesn't default to teensy weensy type. Kinda painful.

Oh yeah, and panniers are completely awesome for bike stability. Except for the more-weight-to-drag-up-hills thing, I much prefer biking with panniers full. It feels like driving a tank. Was at the library this afternoon on my bike (stupid bus doesn't run on Sundays) and didn't flinch at checking out a completely ginormous cookbook in addition to the rest of my stack of books. I probably wouldn't have taken that home if I'd been riding the bus, but on my bike it's no problem at all.

I grew up on a bike from age 5 on through college, and then not so much. Now I have an eBike I'm not so impressed with, and a regular Specialized Rock Hopper mountain bike in white. Bikes Are Cool.

My son M doesn't ride at all. We'll see how that turns out in the next few years.

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