How many of my bicycle-riding readers are partnered with a spouse who doesn't ride much, or at all? That's my situation. Most of the time it's okay and I live with it. But sometimes I really wish my partner could enjoy riding a bicycle. She's a woman of size, and getting comfortable on a bike saddle has been a challenge -- though she did like the Brooks B-67 I put on her last bike.
A few weeks before our 2003 wedding, I found her a bike -- a beautiful Bridgestone XO-5 in great shape. She rode it now and then during the first years of our marriage, but less frequently as she got older and gained more weight. Today, her bike hangs in the entryway of our little house, and I don't think it's been touched by her in over three years.
I know that weight is a sensitive subject and I try not to bring it up if I don't have to. Hell, I've gained a good twenty pounds since my racing days a decade ago, and my knees sure feel it when I ride my bike up hills today. But seeing the one I love give up riding makes me feel so sad, especially when I see friends whose spouses ride with them.
So I admit that I'm hoping to find a bike that Sweetie can more easily mount and dismount, and that she can enjoy riding without worry. I haven't made this a secret; she knows I'm looking for another bike for her. She knows it will likely have 26" instead of 700c wheels, in order to provide more comfort and a wider variety of tread choices; and that a frame built around the smaller wheels will also have more room for fenders than her old bike does. She also knows I'm looking for a step-through frame because it will be easier to get on and off.
To be honest, I'm also looking down the road to a time when I might also need a step-through frame. And if this one's too tall for Sweetie (because after riding it home, I suspect that it could be), then it will fit me. If that's the case, I may just hang it up for the inevitable.
So today I scored an old mountain bike with a step-through frame.
It's a cool old Peugeot, very similar to the US Express I bought new from Ciclo Bikes (an old bike shop in Portland, and the only Peugeot dealer in town back then) in 1987. The Montreal Express was a step above the US Express, with a triple-ring crank and nicer brakes. (If I recall, the US Express came with steel wheels; the Montreal has ally wheels, which is much better.)
It's possible that this one will be too tall for Sweetie, but the price was right and I may keep it for myself.
Disclaimer: I admit to being partly inspired by Anniebikes, another bike blogger with a thing for old Peugeot bikes.
Here's a couple of "before" pictures.
The basket's in mediocre shape and I'll put it aside for new struts and inclusion on a refugee bike. The cockpit is all original, but the shifters may have to be swapped out for something more functional. The stem definitely has to go and perhaps I'll toss some Wald 8095 bars on for more comfort.
There's plenty of room for fenders, and a better saddle will make this a perfectly fine city bike.
And now, for the BONUS:
When I got the bike home, I set it outside to take some pictures and do a little deeper exmaination. And under the saddle, I felt something odd.
So I looked underneath, and stick in the springs, I found this lovely little surprise:
YES, that's a little key ring from Rema Tip Top patch company. Which is cute, because Rema is German, and the bike is French. Go figure. Still, it's really cool and a nice little extra.
I'm looking forward to putting the bike up in the stand next week and starting in on it.
Rain is coming soon, and with it slightly warmer temperatures. I may try for a ride tomorrow if the rain isn't too heavy.