Remember when you were a kid? Finding the right bicycle meant seeing it, falling in love with it, buying it and then riding it everywhere. It went as fast as you you pedaled it (which was pretty darn fast) and it went anywhere you wanted to go- to your friend’s house for secret club meetings or the library for stacks of books that would earn you mini pizzas or the creek for your highly scientific bug studies. There was no landscape it couldn’t cross- up hills, down hills, over the river, through the woods...wait, we may have gotten off track there, but then again, it did that too. The point is, you never once questioned whether your bike was “made” for any of that. You just rode.
That, friends, is what we're talking about. If you know our philosophy on bicycles then this won’t come as a surprise, but as far as we’re concerned, the right bike is not actually a bike at all; it’s any bike that is these two things:
Maybe you love the color. Maybe it reminds you of a bicycle you used to have or one you always wanted. Maybe you love the way it rides or the way you feel riding it. Maybe it speaks to you (bicycles have been known to be very outspoken when it comes to these things). Maybe you don’t even know why; you just know.
“If you think your bike looks good, it does. If you like the way your bike rides, it’s an awesome bike.”
When you think of riding your bicycle, for any reason, your bicycle should say yes back. (We’re telling you- these bicycles are very chatty) You want to go for a ride with your friends- it says ‘let’s go’. You forgot eggs at the grocery store- it says ‘throw ‘em in the basket, we’ll be home in five minutes.’ You decide to start commuting by bike a few days a week- it says ‘this is gonna be fun.’
The truth is, most bicycles will do whatever you want. You can commute on a road bike. You can exercise on a beach cruiser. You can do a triathlon on a mountain bike (we've done it). It almost all works. The better question is- do you want to? And nine times out of ten, with the right bike, you’ll say ‘I’d love to!’
If you’re someone who likes having the best tool for every job or you tend to change interests (and your top 3 activities) frequently, you might just be someone who needs multiple bikes. The goods news is, bicycles can be adapted. So to start, go with something in the middle- built to be adaptable and versatile instead of optimal for any one thing.
"...the right bike is not actually a bike at all."
And that’s it. The right bicycle for you is the one you like and the one you’ll ride the most. It’s that simple and don’t let anyone tell you differently. As our friends at Surly say- “If you think your bike looks good, it does. If you like the way your bike rides, it’s an awesome bike.”
Next week, we'll talk more about how and what to look for to get that 90%. But, for now, let’s start figuring out what the right bike is for you. GRAB THE QUESTIONNAIRE TO GET STARTED
all photos by Heidi Zumbrun
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THE WHEELHOUSE: CHAPTER 2
Over the past two years, our mission has grown and, with it, our plans for the future. On December 30th we closed our shop in LA's Arts District and will be taking the brand in a new direction (you can read our full letter here). We are still plotting out our new course, but whatever it is, you- our community- are coming with us.
After all, The Wheelhouse is not a space, it’s people.
SIGN UP to join the journey as the next Wheelhouse chapter takes shape.