Bought a new Trek bike and I’m one of those weirdos with a busy cockpit. Lights, Cameras, Computers (shoulda said “Action”, I know), coffee holder. I’m definitely predisposed to an Urban Commuter style of riding.
But the new bike is a fancy Carbon bike (FX Sport Carbon 4) and I decided to clean things up a bit.
So basically the BLENDR system is a clip that sits between the useless space in the handlebar stem which allows you to mount a couple of items.
Cool. I had to try it.
I have an Elite Stem so I made sure to order the right stuff for it. They have a compatibility chart.
So I wasn’t sure if I wanted to mount one thing or two things so I bought both a Mono base and a Duo base.
IT’S A PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT.
First of all you can’t find them anywhere. That implies 2 things. It’s either really popular or its a piece of fucking shit.
Make no mistake. I fancy this as a Tech Blog. Bicycles are surprisingly high tech, especially these days. Heck, even when I was a kid the owner of the Schwinn bike shop wore a LAB COAT. That was a statement. It meant a PROFESSIONAL was there in support of your bicycle purchase.
I’m turning 60 this year and one thing has almost never changed in my life. Put me on a bicycle and I get positively HAPPY. I love riding a bicycle. Rain, no problem. Wind, no problem. Okay, I lied about the wind one.
I go through periods when I want to read, dream, and think about all things BICYCLE. I just bought a new bike and I’m in that phase again. Got the bike, got some lights, got some pedals and shoes. And it is about the reading and research for me as it is about the stuff. I want TECH stuff. I want to read reviews from users. I want to saturate myself in bicycle culture.
That is until I picked up a Magazine…………
Trek FX Sport 4 Carbon
I recently was in the big city of Charlotte NC and swung by a local cycle shop and to my utter shock and amazement they had an FX Sport 4 Carbon in stock. This bike shop also asked if I were a veteran and gave me a 10% discount off retail price as well.
Ever since the pandemic hit one of the first things to disappear from the earth, after toilet paper, were bicycles. IF, and I mean IF you could find a bike it wasn’t one of the higher end bikes.
Much like a lot of other people in the world I decided to whip myself into shape after being allowed to telework which gave me a solid two extra hours in the morning to exercise. And what I most wanted was a Carbon Trek FX Sport 4, 5, or 6. They have been unobtanium, at least in my parts, for over 2 years now.
I decided to buy the bike despite the fact that I have an FX2 and a Verve 3. Here are my thoughts on the bike after dabbling with it for a few days.
It is nearly impossible to buy a new bicycle from the local bike shop but there are a lot of used bicycles out there. Beware though as it is a sellers market and if you see a gem you should snatch it up as quick as you can.
The funny thing I think I have noticed is that vintage (1990 and older) bikes are reasonably priced. Just looking through Facebook marketplace shows some very fairly priced Trek 800 and Trek 830 bikes. Those were Chromoly Steel bikes and many, many people use these old steel frames to build up top of the line touring bikes. So the Facebook Marketplace sellers have it exactly backwards on the vintage stuff.
Which leads me into my next point…………As long as the frame and the fork and bottom bracket is okay MOST EVERYTHING ELSE IS A CHEAP AND EASY REPLACEMENT.
Case in point. Here’s a Tern Folding Bike I found a while back. I will use this bike as an example of used bike selection. It was in essentially good shape with minimal issues that were cheaply fixed. It also came with lots of extras making it a good purchase candidate.
Tern Link D7i
There was quite a few things that needed some attention on this bike BUT IT WAS STILL A GOOD DEAL because none of those things cost a lot to fix. Here’s a list of things I noticed on first inspection:
1968 Schwinn Stingray
Do you remember your first bike? I do. That first bicycle was your ticket to independence. You could GO PLACES that were previously unobtainable to you or they suddenly became obtainable a lot faster.
This may have not been my absolute first bike but it was my first REAL bike. A 1968 Schwinn Stingray. I’m mostly sure about this because I remember the Coppertone color and not the year but the Stingray history has the Coppertone color in 1968 which would have been about the right time as well.
Getting a new bike is still like that for me. Although primarily I ride my bike to lose weight and maintain health I still get a thrill of GOING PLACES and driving down roads that I probably wouldn’t take my car down. The ability to view your surroundings is greatly enhanced with a 360 degree unobstructed view traveling at 15 miles per hour vice 55 miles per hour in a metal cage.
Alas, this is supposed to be a Tech Blog but bicycles are quite technical these days, and what could be more technical than a bicycle that folds up into a small space and is ready to unfold and ride in SECONDS?.
I got my first folding bicycle around 2008, I think, from a Sporting Goods shop in Okinawa called Sports Depo. Pretty sure it was a 2008 Dahon MU P8.
Dahon MU P8
I was going through a bike phase and something about this bike intrigued me. It was small, relatively light, and folded up into a neat little square.
I used to travel to a nearby island for work called Ie Shima which was accessible by ferry. I would sometimes just carry the bike onboard with me and unfold on the other side and go have an adventure. Such are the things memories are made of.
Several months ago I reached a saturation point with the guy in the mirror. He was clearly getting too fat. I was also staring my retirement directly in the face and didn’t want to be old, and fat, and on the couch. I wanted to LIVE and ENJOY my retirement.
When I lived in Japan about 6 years ago I was an avid runner, and bicyclist, and when I moved back to the US all those interests began to slide. It’s a lot more dangerous to ride in the US than it is in Japan and in fact on my very first bike ride in the US in New Bern, NC 6 years ago someone threw a bottle at me. On a Sunday morning, no less.
So I dedicate this post to Baron Karl von Drais who is credited with inventing the first bicycle called the “Draisine”. Too bad for him we don’t still call it that. Then again one of the guys who didn’t necessarily invent something first but made patented improvements on it may have something to say about having things named after you. Case in point. Thomas Crapper. People are forever still going to “The Crapper”. I’m not joking. Look it up.