New (to me) Bike Day

Yesterday I rode the train into the far part of Seoul to buy a used bike off a fellow who is moving back to his home country. He gave me an incredible deal on this wonderful bike, and I think it will turn out to be a very positive improvement for my lifestyle. It is a decent all-purpose hybrid "trekking" bike, which is to say, it has a more upright geometry with a slightly wider wheel base, wide handlebars, and mounting points for racks or whatever else. I rode it some 50km home, and it was very comforable, smooth, and surprisingly fast (even with my giant sail of a backpack catching the wind).

The reason I bought this bike was in some ways related to what degrowther was recently talking about in their post about wanting to ride their bike more. degrowther cites comfort as an incentive to ride more frequently. In my case, it is versatility and stability.

degrowther - I need to ride my bike more often

For the past few years I have been riding a very fast and sporty road bike (my first road bike actually), and I have loved it. It enabled me to do an 80km/day commute several times a week before the pandemic. I had no interest in road bikes prior to buying this one used (also off a fellow leaving the country). But I have definitely fell in love with it in the time I have been riding it.

The thing about road bikes (or at least mine, the only one I've seriously ridden!) is they are not very versatile. If you are mounted, you are going...and fast, or, at least that's how you feel. This is great for reclaiming some tarmac from cars in traffic, but it took me a while to get used to in the begining. Another thing is they are relatively less stable--with narrow wheels and norrow handlebars, their handling is VERY fine compared to a mountain bike or something. It is very difficult to ride hands free on my road bike, for example. And of course, road bikes sacrifice comfort for speed and aerodynamics, which makes sense for the kind of bike that they are--but it is not the only kind of ride you want to have, you see?

Anyway, now that I do not have a long commute to ride everyday, I have been riding more infrequently. Part of the reason for that is environmental (lots of bad air days, being a stay-at-home dad, etc.). One motivation for getting this new bike is that I will be able to use it to basically replace my car for running errands around town, especially when moderate cargo is involved, like for grocery shopping or taking the kids to the park. In addition to increased versatility, the stability of this bike was a primary factor in deciding to buy it. During the summer, the roads are very wet and slick here, and in the winter they are icy and precarious. The small increase in tire width makes a huge difference, and with the broader handlebars, you really feel like you are more in control.

Having ridden this trekking bike for a day or two, I realize how much I missed just casually riding a bike around--just wandering. Of course, there's nothing about a road bike that prevents you from taking it slow, but the more relaxed geometry and upright posture make a big difference. Being able to ride hands free is a big deal too--that means I can play ukulele and ride like the old days again :b