Choosing the Right Bici … for Dummies

We get a lot of companer@s telling us they would like to join our rides but they don’t own a bike, and in fact, don’t have the slightest clue about how to choose the right one. Some of us will recall our companera, a new rider, who came on one ride with a fixie that was really hard for her to ride! 😩

So I thought I would put together this guide to choosing a bike that will serve your height, your lifestyle, your budget and hopefully take you on many many great adventures.

It’s all about the height!

Probably the most important thing to consider when getting a new bike is the height of your frame. Riding the wrong size bike can do serious irreversible damage to your knees. While you can make minor adjustments to the height (i.e. raise/lower the seat, change the tire size), you should get a frame that is the right height for you! You might feel like Goldy Locks for a while but hang in there and you will find the right frame for you.

You might feel like Goldy Locks for a while but hang in there and you will find the right frame for you.

Most bike frames are measured in cm and the height of your bike depends on your inseam. I copied the following chart from http://bicycling.about.com/od/howtoride/a/bike_sizing.htm

Determining Your Road Bike Frame Size
Height Inseam Length Bike Frame Size
4’10” – 5’1″ 25.5” – 27” 46 – 48 cm
5’0″ – 5’3″ 26.5″ – 28″ 48 – 50 cm
5’2″ – 5’5″ 27.5″ – 29″ 50 – 52 cm
5’4″ – 5’7″ 28.5″ – 30″ 52 – 54 cm
5’6″ – 5’9″ 29.5″ – 31″ 54 – 56 cm
5’8″ – 5’11” 30.5″ – 32″ 56 – 58 cm
5’10” – 6’1″ 31.5″ – 33″ 58 – 60 cm
6’0″ – 6’3″ 32.5″ – 34″ 60 – 62 cm
6’2″ – 6’5″ 34.5″ – 36″ 62 – 64 cm

Your lifestyle:

  • The Commuter: You use your bike to get from home to school, work, run errands, etc. Typically you want something sturdy so consider a mountain bike frame or a road frame with good tires ( we’re usually talking 26″ or 27″ rims). Another thing to consider for your commuter is ergonomics, the science of good posture–you might want to go with handlebars that are high so you are riding in a comfortable upright position. Lastly, get yourself a rack, basket, saddlebags or a trailer to carry your loads on your commuter.

Ex. Flying Pigeon LA, Brompton Folding Bike, Schwinn, Nishiki, Raleigh, Huffy, Gary Fisher

You use your bike to get from home to school, work, run errands, etc.

  • The Young Urbanite: You are typically young and trendy and use your bike mostly to ride around with friends. Your bike is probably going to be a road bike or fixie (with 700 “thin” tires) with a vibrant customizable color scheme. These bikes tend to be fast and lightweight or sleek, but prone to flats (you will need to learn how to repair a flat on command). The more gears, the easier it is to ride. Fixies can be difficult to ride but are great for conditioning because they don’t move unless you are pedaling. They are very easy to find on Craigslist.org

Ex. fixie (Micargi), Bianchi, Peugot, Motobacane, Trek, Specialized, Giant, Fuji, Univega, Centution

 You are typically young and trendy and use your bike mostly to ride around with friends.

  • The Adventurer: You are an adrenaline junkie and will use your bike to handle tough terrain or go very fast. You would benefit from a mountain bike or cyclocross/track frame. These bikes are sturdy with thick tires and usually have a number of speeds.

Ex. Cannondale, Diamondback, Specialized, Trek, Mongoose

You are an adrenaline junkie and will use your bike to handle tough terrain or go very fast.

  • The Cruiser/Easy Rider: You use your bike for relaxation, light exercise and general cruising purposes. Typically these bicycles are very comfortable and easy to ride and might have coaster brakes (the bike stops when you pedal back). These are not built for speed and are usually very heavy. They are recognizable because of their heavy frame and tire fenders.

ex. Easy rider, Beach Cruiser (Schwinn)

You use your bike for relaxation, light exercise and general cruising purposes.

Budget

If this is your first bike purchase, it’s probably smart to start off with an economically priced frame. Road bike, fixies, mountain bike, even trickter/bmx bike are relatively easy to find on Craigslist for a good price (less than $500). Remember to search by height!!

Be very careful if you’re buying a “fixer-upper” because it will require that you invest some (possibly a lot) or time and money. If you do buy a fixer-upper, you can learn to do your own repairs for $5/hr plus the cost of materials at one of LA’s many bicycle co-op–Bike Oven, Bike Kitchen, Bici Libre, Bici Digna, etc. 😉

Be very careful if you’re buying a “fixer-upper” because it will require that you invest some (possibly a lot) or time and money.

Bike technology can be really innovative so you might be wowed by some of the new carbon fiber bikes that are ridiculously lightweight. If you have the desire and the resources to buy something like that, by all means go ahead.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS lock up your bike no matter how much you spend on it or how safe you think it might be on your front porch. It’s an investment you made and your very own freedom machine. Buy yourself a good u-lock or heavy-duty chain! Try to stay away from thin chains as they can be cut very easily.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS lock up your bike no matter how much you spend on it or how safe you think it might be on your front porch.

Good riding ❀

-La Maga

Ovas Unite 2012! by Ariel Climer

(A reflection on the January Luna Ride dedicated to the Zapatista Uprising of ’94)

Back in September, I was invited by my friend to an event at the Echoplex
called Mucho Libre, a concert and community event gathering together screen
printers, crafters, bike enthusiasts, and fans of cumbia, Son Jarocho, and
rock. There, I first met some of the wombyn called the Ovarian Psycos,
women who gather together at each full moon to celebrate womanhood, to be
in solidarity with other wombyn and to promote the healthy, fun, and
political act of cycling. This full moon, I finally participated in a ride!
The all-wombyn and wombyn-identified crew rode from Pasadena at Memorial
Park station to Solidarity Ink, a new artist collective and organizing
center in Lincoln Heights.

I began the ride by taking the Metro to Pasadena. I rode to the purple line
at Wilshire/Western and spoke with an older man on the train who was also a
cyclist. He was surprised to hear of an all women’s ride and wished me good
luck and a good time. I speed walked myself and my bike over to the Gold Line, almost forgot to buy another ticket, and then hopped on, crossing past a handful of kids riding the Gold Line in their underwear. Were they part of a flash mob? I didn’t ask and instead just admired their statement.

The Gold Line cruised up the slow slope out of downtown, past Chinatown and
into Highland Park. At one stop, a wombyn with a bicycle got on. We caught
eyes and her dark long hair and intense yet excited demeanor made me
wonder, would we be flying through the night together soon? Another wombyn
guided her bike on to the train at the next stop. Our eyes crossed paths,
and I smiled and nodded what’s up. All three of us were spaced out evenly
across the car in the train, me in the “elbow” as I like to call it, where
bike or strollers often sit, the other two wombyn at the doors, standing
tall nears the brushed metal poles. I felt the strength of the two wombyn
standing regally with hands balancing delicately yet firmly upon the
handlebars and seats of their bikes.

I felt the strength of the two wombyn
standing regally with hands balancing delicately yet firmly upon the handlebars and seats of their bikes.

We rolled out and up the steps at Memorial Park station to find a few more
wombyn waiting for us. At the top of the steps we found space to chill, and
we waited and watched as more trains dropped off more sisters. Soon, we
were 37 strong. We pumped up tires, adjusted seats, and checked for proper
gear. “Make sure you use your lights if you have them!”

We circled up for stretches and did some beautiful reaches up toward the
moon, some stretching of our powerful legs, and a lovely meditative stretch
of our arms. We went over safety rules and we were off!

The wonderful realization you have when you ride with all wombyn: you are
riding with all wombyn therefore everything is wombyn influenced. We used
safe calls such as “Pothole!” for potholes, whistles to alert of people
getting too far behind or of bike malfunction, and generally warned each
other to stay to one side when one lane presented itself to us and to take
up a whole lane when two lanes were present. We obeyed traffic lights to
avoid tickets. We never left anyone behind. The existence of this truth
messes with the individualistic and competitive side of long distance bike
riding that I feel has been inculcated in me by males in my lifetime. Not
that a male might leave someone behind for good, but I have definitely
heard men tell me to not be a pussy and pedal harder to make a light or to
be annoyed at the people who ride slower and are slowing everyone down or
to keep up or else I will get lost. I felt the tendencies to feel and think
these values into my comments and mutterings along the ride, but instead, I
stepped back from my brain, held them in my palm and said to them, “No, you
do not fit here. We are here to take care of each other. We are only as
strong as our weakest member. We ride as one.”

We never left anyone behind. The existence of this truth messes with the individualistic and competitive side of long distance bike riding that I feel has been inculcated in me by males in my lifetime.

All eyes of the wombyn were on the wombyn. We kept watch over each other.
One wombyn had problems with her bike but we had tools to fix it and did.
We stopped at a liquor store. We peed in a park. A few miles before our
destination, we met with the river trail and glided along in absolute
silence under la luna tranquila. She spoke to us of blue and of white, of
childbearing and of puberty.

A few miles before our destination, we met with the river trail and glided along in absolute
silence under la luna tranquila. She spoke to us of blue and of white, of childbearing and of puberty.

Our final destination brought us into the large space of Solidarity Ink. We
watched a film about the Zapatistas of Mexico and wombyn spoke to us of the
need for solidarity with our brothers and sisters down south and of the
need to prepare ourselves for our own revolution. We listened with young,
old, brash, and wise ears. We soaked in one more experience where caring
and convivial living swam to the surface of our consciousnesses, mounted an
aquatic bicycle, and rode 12 miles on the open sea.

Thank you for a great first ride. I look forward to many more.

Ovarian Psycos:January Luna Ride! Dedicated to Zapatista Uprising of ’94!

It’s that time of the month again ladies! Ovarian Psycos present the January Full Moon Luna Ride!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
TIME:

Sunday, January 8th, 2012 RIDE OUT NO LATER THAN 7:30pm
MUST BE ON TIME @ 7:30 OR YOU WILL BE LEFT BEHIND!

LOCATION:

Meet @ Memorial Park Gold Line Station in Pasadena

End Up @ Solidarity Ink in Lincoln Heights

TO VIEW THE ROUTE, CLICK HERE

We will be riding to one of our favorite community spots (also where we had our 1 year anniversary) SOLIDARITY INK!!

We will ride to the community space and watch a short film called: Corazon Del Tiempo – A story of a revolutionary Zapatista muxer forging her way through the struggle (film is in Spanish, however it WILL have subtitles)

We will also have a sister from A.R.M.A speaking to us about the current delegation to Chiapas.

We are workin’ like psycos to finish settin’ it up to make a very special ride for the beginning of 2012, so hold on to your ovaries and stay tuned! – ♄