City Hipstering

(Ok so this isn’t D.C., obviously, but I’m itching to travel again and the San Juan skyline is way prettier than the D.C. skyline. Plus this post is sort of about cities. Sort of.)

We’ve lived in the city (not just the same city) for about 7 years now. We grew up in a rural community, and pretty much the minute I turned 18, I hightailed it for the city life (or as city as Amherst, MA gets). I got to do the whole bike ride to class thing during college, but I was too poor, taking too many classes and working too much to really enjoy and take advantage of real, bonafide city living .

I truly didn’t appreciate what I had until I started commuting hard core and no longer had the energy to be a tourist in my own city, or ever have enough day light to actually enjoy where I lived during the times I was home. For the last year, especially, just getting too and from work was a 4 hour adventure of suck.

Now that that chapter of our lives is hopefully over, and I now live 5 miles from work, I’m rediscovering the joys of living in a city, and it’s reaffirming why I moved to one in the first place. I can bike to work, walk to the grocery store (an organic, vegan-food filled co-op), restaurants, etc. Being that we’re in D.C. you can’t throw a stick without hitting a museum, and the art scene is off the chain.

In a word, it’s amazeballs.

I’m into the second week of biking into work, and I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard. I haven’t ridden a bike in years and suddenly I’m biking 11/12 miles a day. I also haven’t ever used a fixed-wheel bike before, with no gears, so it’s definitely a challenge. What makes it so awesome though is that I now have a built in fitness regime, and being able to do anything outdoors for 2 hours a day during the warm months is a gift. PLUS, I have the world’s coolest bike, so that kind of helps.

Which is the point of this rambling post about city living: my new bike.

It is the Fiance by Sole . Fab had a great deal on them (which might still be going on) and how can you resist hot pink rims? Plus it helped that for the same cost of the Sole bike for me and a hybrid bike for Steven plus all of the accessories, we could have bought one Public Bike.

I can’t get over how pretty this bike is. From the matte black frame, to the hot pink rims, to the baby blue accents, it’s just so posh. I mean, when you’re sweating your ass off, it’s really important to look posh.

As far as the actually important things go, the seat is awful. Just fucking terrible. I’m probably not used to road bike seats, and I get that, but I’ve already had to replace the seat and I’m still recouping from the first ride (the seat in the picture is the one it came with). I don’t really get why anyone would want to ride on a piece of plastic and leather, with no padding, but that’s just me. I replaced it with a super plush seat from REI. The bike is also a bit high. I have the seat lowered to the lowest possible point, and I’m still on my tippey toes when I stop. For the record I’m essentially 5’3 and I bought the smallest size bike they carry. I don’t know if again, it’s a “I’m not used to road bikes” issue, but if I was an inch shorter, I would have considered returning it.

The handle bar is also tiny. It took some getting used to at first but I kind of like it. It’s probably half the size of a normal handle bar and it’s size makes it so that your body naturally falls into the shape required to bike up hills, which I much appreciate as I know virtually nothing about cycling except for the whole pedaling concept, and I have a giant hill I have to ride up to get to work everyday. Plus you’re also in the right shape to get a good amount of speed going.

As far as assembly goes, it was pretty easy. They advertise that it comes assembled 85% and given that I really know nothing about cycling that almost turned me off, but I decided to go for it anyways, thinking that worst case I’d take it down to the bike shop and have them do it. But there was no need. It fit together pretty easily, and outside of the first ride where we made adjustments as we went, it’s still holding together (woohoo!).

All-in-all, I’m really happy with it. I like how it looks and (now) how it feels, and while I wouldn’t mind some gears for the aforementioned hill, it’s a great bike. Especially for the price. However, if you’re looking at getting one, I would definitely replace the seat, unless you’re used to that kind of ride.

Love those pink rims.

I wasn’t compensated for this review and in all likelihood, Sole will never know I wrote it. So you know, blah blah all thoughts are mine. However, I wish I was and if Sole would like to give me a free bike or accessories, I would not complain. 


2 thoughts on “City Hipstering

  1. Trevor says:

    Love it. I switched to a fixed gear for commuting a few months ago and it becomes so much easier as time goes on. Let me know if you need any rec’s on adjustments to dial it in. Very happy to see you’re zipping around on a fixie now!

    • Thanks! Yesterday’s commute was certainly much, much easier (Steven and I made it in, in just 35 minutes!) but that blasted hill keeps getting me. But once I get more attuned to it, I will definitely take you up on that offer 🙂

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