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A Bike That’s Easy To Live With by Mark Manson

Submitted by on June 13, 2010 – 8:30 pmOne Comment
Slight bend at the knee when the pedal is pushed all the way down

Slight bend at the knee when the pedal is pushed all the way down

Remember when we were kids, we would just jump on a bike and go? We didn’t care about the size of the frame or if the saddle was the right height; we just took off. Now, as adults, we learn about performance and efficiency and proper pedal stroke and cadence. Some of us even partake in the wearing of the lycra. Kinda takes the fun out of it, huh?

Well, depending on what your motive is for riding, you can just jump on a bike again. If your riding is on the casual side or in the transportation/urban environment, then you’re in luck – you can throw out some the rules on proper bend of the knee or handlebar width, but you generally want a slight bend at the knee when your foot is on the pedal and extended all the way down. We’re riding for comfort, shorter stints in the saddle, and a lot of straddling the top-tube at red lights (you do stop for red lights, right?).

This means that there are many more options open to us for city riding. See an old Schwinn Collegiate at a yard sale? Buy it! Its only $25 bucks. Just use a little common sense when eying it up and learn to use the seat post clamp to get a comfortable seat height.  The nature of city bikes is to be more upright, making it easier to see and be seen. Slightly larger frames are OK, the only word of caution would be to note the stand-over height. We still want an inch or two clearance there; it makes the bike easier to live with. Adjust the saddle height to where it’s comfortable, generally lower than it would be on a road bike and easy to put a foot down when stopping. And guys, go ahead and consider a mixte or a step-through frame. They’re not just for wearing dresses anymore and are so European.

Adjust the seatpost clamp to raise or lower the saddle

Adjust the seatpost clamp to raise or lower the saddle

Again, a bike that’s easy to live with will be the one you’ll enjoy swinging a leg over.

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