|secondhand Windsor bike|
Meet my new secondhand bike. It's not a red Peugeot but a gray Windsor kissed with red. It was actually a Christmas gift from my roommate bought off a (short) friend of his who wanted to upgrade his two wheels. Though it's nothing fancy or rare or even colorful, at least it's a dropped-handlebar ten-speed road bike that fits. (Finding a small men's bike isn't easy.) And because it's not valuable, it shouldn't be a glaring draw for bike theft. Plus, it's not made in China but in Mexico. And it's a men's bike.
|Windsor label: Hecho en Mexico|
I figured out long ago that any products gender-engineered specifically for men will be of better quality than what's made for women, whether we're talking bikes, clothes, or razors. For bikes, the triangle of a men's frame is inherently stronger than a women's dipped frame, which was tweaked to accommodate skirts.
|Windsor bike frame detail|
Unlike the deep white frozen hell over on the East Coast this month, Portland, Oregon, has been enjoying record-breaking highs. So Jeff (the housemate) tuned up the bike for me last weekend, cleaning and oiling it and pumping up the tires. He also scrounged up a spare helmet. And then we went on a six-mile (or eight-mile?) round-trip ride along the Trolley Trail that parallels McLoughlin/99E from Gladstone up near downtown Milwaukie, where we encountered a few joggers, a few bikers, some families strolling with young children, and several ducks floating in the canal. Why not take advantage of this strange February sun, so different from last year?
|Windsor bike, rider's view|
|Windsor bike gears|
|Windsor bike with hanging helmet|
We still need to install the bike lock holder I thrifted a couple years ago for a dollar, as well as the back carrier rack Jeff found for me last month at Goodwill. But that can wait. This afternoon, we're off for a sunny, if brisk, ride along the Clackamas River on the Clackamette Cove and River Access Trails, where we will probably see geese trailing V's in the water and overhead.* For the record, I still think bike helmets are uncomfortable and look stupid—and if Europeans don't bother with them, why should we?—but I'm told their use is better than risking scrambled brains.**
*We also saw a sea lion sun-basking on a dock south of Clackamette Park! Who knew they would swim all this way upstream from the coast, following the salmon run?
**Oh, and my wearing a bike helmet meant I couldn't wear a sun hat, which meant that despite my daily SPF30 sunscreen, I got a light sunburn across the bottom half of my face, which for someone with rosacea, is a big no-no. Thanks, bike helmet.