Saturday, June 16, 2012

His Bike Saturday 2012-06-16

I love to ride a bicycle, but in a crowded metropolis like Metro Manila, I was hesitant due to heavy traffic, narrow roads and lots of bad drivers. Manila isn't really a safe place for bikes. There are no dedicated bike lanes, so you basically have to share the road with motor vehicles. A few weeks ago, I started getting really interested on bikes again. Knowing some people riding bikes without ill effects so far, I decided to go ahead and buy one.

Although I love riding bikes, I am not a choosey biker. As long as I can ride it comfortably, I'll do that. In fact a year ago, while in China, I rode some of the worst bikes I have encountered. Those public bikes you can rent for free in Hangzhou, China range from bad to worst. Some have sticky wheels, worn out brakes, chain that needs to be lubed, etc. Although you can't really complain because they're free. It is free for an hour of use and cost next to nothing in excess of 1 hour. If you need to ride more than an hour, just switch bike at the next bike terminal, which can be found all over the city, and you got your 1 hour timer reset to zero. My first bike wasn't a premium bike either - it was a normal hybrid from a neighborhood store. It's in my parents' house in the province all rusty and fit for a junk shop after being left untouched for more than 10 years.

A typical roadster for rent (free) in China

After some reading on the net, I found several bike seller. I visited several of them during the week, but didn't find something I like: either too expensive, wheel too small (I like 20" folders instead of 16"), color too feminine, etc. During the weekend, I went to Quiapo, Manila and visit the bike shop which I knew existed, when I was living near that place. Indeed it has lots of folders that I find interesting. I took a gamble on a blue one that caught my eye and bought it. It's not expensive, so even if I didn't like it, it won't be painful to the wallet. I took a bus to the most convenient place where I can ride home. It was good that I bought a folder, if it's a standard one, I can't take a bus and have to ride the bike across highways and major roads which I dislike.

I didn't feel bad about this SGM bike I purchased, I think the bike feels good when I rode it. I didn't feel the negative behavior people complained about when I read reviews of inexpensive folders. Either these cheap-bike-haters are too choosey or I don't know the behavior of expensive bikes since I haven't ridden one. The only negative feel I get is the pedal seems not durable and the wheels are small and I can almost feel every bumps and uneven surface of the road. The last bike I've ridden can negate the effect of small bumps due to its' larger wheel (probably 26" or larger). I understand that most folders have smaller wheels to maintain the compact form when folded, so it isn't really a fault of the cheap bike. Overall I'm happy with my purchase and will probably get a replacement pedal to remedy the small issue it has.

The next thing I'll do is find a good place to ride it. :)

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