Seeing Red


Red is a great color for a bike or a car or a cape. I have wanted a red bike since I was grew out of my red tricycle. I’ve pined over red mixtes (Soma Buena Vista) and road bikes (Salsa Warbird) and even mountain bikes (I did have a Gary Fisher Tasajara) but what they possessed in color they lacked in other ways, or that’s what I tell myself. Hi, I’m Bike Goddess and I have an addiction to bikes. Thanks for being here.

Gosh, I still miss Tessa, my Gary Fisher! She was sassy!

When Bryan at the eBikeStore informed me in an email that the bike of my dreams might be available for a test ride, I bit. See if you can answer the questions:

George Clooney, Madonna, Donatella Versace and Sir Richard Branson all have homes on Lake _________. (Como)

When excited, a favorite greeting is a “High __________.” (Five)

Ferrari’s are often this color: __________. (Red)

Faraday Cortland and first eLove!

When I got my first electric bike it was winter of 2015 and the bike was a Faraday Cortland with a belt drive. It had the 3 B’s. Belt drive. Beauty. Blissful. The third B I use to refer to the sounds a bike makes while you’re riding. I want my ride to be steath and I don’t want to hear the machine of the bike regardless of electric or not. The Como got a 4 out of 5 on the Bliss scale of noise. The battery is the quietest ever however there’s a sound the chain makes that’s a bit on the loud end when you’re coasting. My Cortland was my favorite and still holds a place in my heart. It’s baby blue with hints of opalescence so the color alone is iconic and difficult to name.

Why a belt drive? I took a belt drive bike for a test ride years ago but I let myself be swayed by popular opinion at the time and price. Popular opinion from the bike mechanics was that it was a fad and I should wait and see. The bike was expensive and just wanted to see what it was like. I was extremely impressed but I’d wait. Belt drives are stealth and maintence free. Imagine never dealing with chain grease or chain issues at all. I mean at all.

Front frame mount rack.

Lulu, the Cortland, has over 6,500 miles and she’s the only belt drive bike I’ve ever owned. She was my dream ride. Super cute and perfect for my 20 miles a day commute. I dolled her up with a few accessories and we got along famously for quite sometime. However the range of 22 miles round trip proved difficult for a few things just outside the range like riding into Portland and back. Two levels of boost such as boost and a little more boost was fine in 2015. She’s sublime and everything I wanted until I needed just a little more.

This was after I first got the Como. Original saddle and using the rack for panniers. I changed out the saddle and still a perfect commuter in 2022 with outstanding range. #ebikeanywhere

Isn’t that the way it goes. My second ebike is the one I ride now which is a Specialize Como 5 Turbo. I did call her Ella (Greek for come) but recently she’s become more of a Perri, as in Perry Como because it’s such a great name and when I had her in the bike shop for some annoying crooning and creaking, Perry became the obvious name choice. She has over 14,000 miles which means she’s taken the lead over any of my miles and my Kona mixte comes in at 13,000 as an analog bike. Both of these bikes fit me like designer jeans or like they were made especially for me. I can ride and ride and ride either bike without worry. All the adages come true with these two bikes. I can go the distance and wear whatever I want, kitted up or not, these bikes are my steelmates.

My Kona Mixte is such a sweetie. Best analog bike ever!
Basket situation on my 2019 Como 5. Not a frame mount, yet perfectly adequate.

The desire for a belt drive nags at me however. And the color. I don’t mind the midnight blue but I live in the Northwest and everything from November to May is midnight blue. I want color. I commute to and from work and most errands and generally I do everything and go everywhere on my bikes. Don’t I deserve it? Yeah, but do you really need it? Ugh! Life in my head is like the Devil and the Angel and I’d like to evict both of them.

Very soon I will test ride the new Como 5 in red with a belt drive. There’s a possibility that this bike can also be outfitted with a large basket in front that is frame mounted which is another feature from the Cortland that I adored. This will pose a big problem for me because I will want. I will pine. I will long for it. I will feel all the feels and I’ll need it like I need air. I will feel all the longings of all my days summed up in one object and I’ll be out of my right mind and become obsessed with having the thing I don’t really need but I want.

The answer to the questions above are: Como. Five and red. This is a review from Ebike Review and even though it’s the Como 3, you’ll get the basic idea. I don’t 100% love the look and the deep step through but I could see myself appreciating it in a few more years too.

Will this one have it all? The truth is I could be content with Perry Como as she is. There are many features I’ve dialed in on my 2019 Como. You know how it is. You fiddle and toy and tinker until it fits the way you want and does what you want it to do. I have the basket situation arranged so I use a Timbuk2 messenger bag to stash all my capes and clothes and accoutrement so basically the new Como will have to knock my cleats off. I wonder if it will.

Thanks for reading my musings on bikes and accessories. It is a bit of an addiction, but a good one. At least that’s what I tell myself. Right? What are your bike obsessions? Anything that’s a deal breaker?

Have a great day and get out there and ride!

Bike Goddess

Custom Ride or Not?

Let’s talk about custom bikes. I have been riding bikes for most of my adult life and before that I had three bikes: a tricycle, a nondescript bike with training wheels, and a bodacious, freedom loving, adventure hunting banana seat. Then I recall a cheap Firenze my Dad got free somehow, and a Raleigh then a Schwinn and so on and so on. I rode a Schwinn Passages across the USA back in 1986. I digress. I have had more than a few bicycles and yet I still do not have the perfect bike.

Currently in the bike corral there’s a 2006 Trek Portland, a 2012 Kona Mixte Roundabout (the daily commuter bike) a Specialized Globe, and a Cannonade Carbon Synapse Road bike. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure: there’s a Specialized Rock Hopper circa 1987 hanging from the ceiling. It was a birthday present from my husband.

But what is the perfect bike. I have been thinking about this quite a bit. I think some bikes fit a certain purpose. I have no intention on weighing down my road bike with racks and panniers. I bike and I have bikes. There it is. I ride three of the four most weeks. The Specialized Globe has a giant basket rack on the front and my dog likes to ride up front. That’s his bike. Don’t judge.

However, when it comes to the custom build, I always thought it was just for people who were either too tall or too short for what was in the bike shops. I have learned there’s certainly a market there, but what about someone who simply wants a better more custom rig?

Here’s an article about custom bikes.

Point numero uno:

1. Know what you want, and find someone who specializes in it.

I am working on it. You know when you see it. I saw a bike by this builder and it has a belt drive. I think I want a belt drive for my new commuter bike. I have always liked the technology and I think my next bike needs it. It’s ultra quiet, like a Prius for bikes. It’s also lower maintenance. Not to brag, but I am replacing chains regularly.

2. Know what you like and don’t like about your current bike.

I have a list. I am meeting with a bike builder in two days and I have a list of all my bikes and what I like and what isn’t working. But this new bike is my commuter. It’s the bike that needs to take me through all weather conditions and still be cute and sassy.

3. Be a partner, not just a customer.

Definitely! I can’t wait for this meeting. I am giddy about going into his shop and talking about my bikey needs. I have another list. I also have background.

4. Know your budget, and be upfront about it.

This point in very important. It’s hard though. I went to the Shinola store in Detroit a few weeks ago and I almost, just about, nearly bought a bike. But the bottom line is that for $2,900, it still wasn’t quite it. I took the Scott Sub 8, belt drive for a spin and it’s really pretty and super quiet and I loved the feel, but still, not quite it. I even took a Public bike for a spin. It was okay, so I know I have some sort of standard. I love the look of the Shinola Bixby, but at $3500 and still needing modifications, I figure it’s time to have the custom bike conversation.

5. Know exactly what you’re getting.

Well, sure! Duh! But how is this possible? I love steel. I love carbon. I love aluminum… what’s a Bike Goddess to do? I have rented bikes, ridden bikes, bought and sold bikes. I’m not sure how to Know exactly what you’re getting, but this is an step, a first conversation, a start in the right direction.