For at least three years, my sweet husband has been telling me to get a new bike. During spring, summer and part of fall, my bike is my main form of transportation. For nine years, I’ve been riding my sweet Bianchi Milano, which is actually an eight-speed cruiser, not really a proper commuting bicycle. It’s heavy and reliable, much like a Volvo. And much like an old Volvo, it eats gas in the form of my energy.
But each time Fancyhats told me I really needed to get a commuter bike if I was going to commute, I sighed and said that I couldn’t give up my Bianchi. It takes me everywhere! It’s my noble steed!
But it’s spring now and so I spend too much time looking at bikes online and daydreaming about the day I own a Sweetpea. So there I was looking at bikes and specifically Bicycle Magazine. They rounded up the top commuter bikes of 2012. I came across the Port Townsend by Raleigh. I dug in and did a bunch of research. The consensus was that it’s a reliable, strong steel-framed bike that’s good for a daily driver and light touring. In biking lingo, it means I could throw a rack on it and haul around my groceries, work clothes, etc. and still have enough power to ride up the Broadway Bridge to work, and up Williams home. Yes, when I bike to work, it’s uphill both ways.
And, it looks great. My Bianchi spoiled me for cute bikes. It’s the reason I just couldn’t bring myself to get excited about a Surly Long Haul Trucker, which is what (it seems) everyone in Portland commutes on. The Port Townsend is a comparable bike to the Surly and it looks so cute.
So I started looked for a Port Townsend in Portland and wouldn’t you know it, there was one marked down at a bike shop a few blocks from my work. It’s a 2012 model and they needed to clear it out before the 2013 models come in. I took it for a test drive and I knew it was the one. So, I took a deep breath and bought it.
I commuted for the first time on Tuesday and I was scared, friends. I went so slow. The Port Townsend is so much lighter than my Bianchi and I can feel every bump. And it’s fast. It has 18 gears, which I’ve never needed before. And it’s got drop handlebars, again something new. Also traps on the pedals. So many new things to get used to!
I’m learning how to ride this new bike. The ride to work was a bit scary, the ride home was awesome. I need to ride it more to feel as comfortable as I did on my Bianchi. Lucky for me, we’ve got some days in the 70’s coming up.
And you know I’ve named it. Raleigh’s are British bikes, and this one is stylish and a little bit goofy and a whole lot sexy. And so… Jackson Brodie is now at my service.