My other half bought me a used bike as a present. Large wheels, lugging it up and down flights of stairs, heavy frame and uncomfortable saddle meant that it hardly got used. My butt just couldn’t take the pain. In the end it went back to the cycle charity shop from where it came.
Fast fowards a couple of years and I start nagging my employer about the Bike to Work Scheme. A way of buying a bike through your employer and writing some tax off against it. Savings were supposed to be up to 38% (?). A couple of years after that I finally hear that the employer is going to go for it, now that someone has explained to them that they will save money in employer’s national insurance contributions I presume.
For some time I toyed with the idea of an ACE trike, but I have a shed so small that even a normal bike won’t fit in. The same was going to be true of a recumbent. Annoyingly I already had the beard!
I had spent a long time looking at folders and thought that a 3 speed Brompton would suit me. I didn’t want derailleur gears; too fragile for my liking on a folder. I wanted a small rack on the back, but I really wanted to see a picture of one as there was no chance me getting to try one out as I live on a group of remote islands in the North Sea 200 miles north of Aberdeen. I couldn’t find a picture of one so in the end I gave up.
For the past couple of months I had been looking at the Beixo range of bikes. I liked the idea of no chain, low maintenance shaft drive, but none of the bikes in their range would serve all of my needs. I wanted something foldable to take on the bus, but something that I could use for longer rides too. They have got a couple of folders, but I didn’t like the folding mechanism. The bike in the folding range that I really did want, the Go, was not in production yet and probably wouldn’t be until next year, so it was looking more and more like I was going to endup with a large wheeled non-folder; the Share or the Slim.
The decision was made for me when I was told at work that we were only going to be allowed two choices of supplier: Halfords or a local bike shop. I didn’t want to buy from either so I decided that perhaps this scheme was not for me.
I had seen this weird little triangle bike on the net when I was trying to draw up a frame shape that I would like to see, only to find that most of them had already been done. It took a while to find out that it was a Strida, then it looked like it was only available in Australia, but I pressed on and found that I could buy one from Velorution in London.
I did very little research and within a couple of hours I was on the net with my rarely used credit card trying to buy a matt black SX. I like black, but in hindsight I should have ordered the blue with the leather accoutrements. The credit card went into shock and wouldn’t complete the transaction, so out with the debit card and have a go with that. Similarly that failed so I had to get onto the shop and place my order over the phone.
Andy took the order and promised to get back to me with the final price. I had added a kickstand and two inner tubes. An hour or so later I hadn’t had a call back so I chased them up. Apparently there was some problem with how much to charge for the shipping this far north. I pointed out that the site had said free shipping to the Highlands and Islands so I would expect that to be the case or it would be a deal breaker. They relented and agreed to ship it out on Monday, telling me that I would get it on Wednesday. I didn’t tell them that I wouldn’t due to the way the freight ferry and couriers work up here. I can’t see them shipping it by air somehow with the post. Go on, prove me wrong!
I spent Friday evening checking out the Strida Forum and every other online video I could find about these little bikes and it looks as though I am in for some fun when it turns up. Now I am researching lights, tools, pumps, tyres, saddles, jackets etc. etc.
*** Friday arrived at last. The shop had sent the bike, but the carrier said that they didn’t have it yesterday, but they managed to deliver the box on Friday. A huge box, but a happy surprise when I opened it and found that it came fully assembled, just folded. The seat had been set for the 175cm and upwards so I had to lower that to the 175cm and down. What a nightmare this is the first time around. Despite looking at the manual on the CD that comes with the bike I couldn’t figure out how to get the clip off below the aluminium seat adjuster. Or rather, I could see how it should be done, but didn’t seem to have a tool to do it. Then I realised that the pry bar I carry with me would do the job. It did in no time at all. From now on the seat adjustment will be even faster than a normal bike.
I took this opportunity to change the saddle for a Specialized Expedition, recommended on this forum. It feels comfortable and I am pleased with the purchase.
The Strida SX came with 2 allen keys in a bag and a three-headed allen key hidden away under the seat. It is a very small kit, but did the seat adjusting job without problem. The only let down was that the lower hole that is tapped in the downtube was tapped badly and I had to employ some oil to be able to screw the peg in. Also with the bike is a CD as mentioned before and a quick start guide.
Saturday came and I finally got to go out on the bike. I hadn’t wanted to go out on Friday evening as I had not received the lights for the bike. I started off down a very steep path from my partner’s house, but decided that sense ought to prevail. I got off and wheeled it down to the level road at the bottom. I started off in the recommended way and was horrified as I lurched left and right across the one way street. Once I picked up speed though everything was fine. This is just going to need learning. As has been mentioned elsewhere on this forum, the handling is unlike a normal bike. I didn’t have a long ride on this first trip; just half a mile to the bus station.
I folded the bike up and put it on the bus. It was crowded so I had to hold it up in front of me. It doesn’t take up a huge amount of space once the handlebars and pedals are folded in. Passengers were easily able to get past. The cords are very short and quite difficult to get around the brake levers.
Once off the bus I unfolded the bike and lurched all over the road before I picked up enough speed to get stability. I am not sure if a single speed bike was a good idea, however it does keep things simple.
My last task has been to fit the Cateye lights HL-EL135 front and TL-LD150-R rear. The lights use different batteries: 2xAA front and 2xAAA rear. It would have been nice if they had used the same batteries and preferably the AAs.
I shall be out on the bike tomorrow practicing my starts from rest to see if I can get the wobble down to a minimum.