Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Searching for My Perfect Bike

I responded to a Craig's List ad this past week to get more information on a "Women's Bianchi" for 15.00. As with some of these ads, they do not include a thorough description. The image was enticing, displaying a red Mixte bike with thumbshifters and cantilever brakes, but it was also an unclear photo taken from a distance. The seller lived 30 miles away, so instead of immediately going to look at it I requested more information. A 15.00 bike could be a rust bucket, or old and of little value to the seller, or even stolen (thus the cheap price). I am usually leery of this type of situation, but the seller was forthcoming and provided the year it was purchased-1990-and even the serial number, along with directions to his house.

I researched the model: a 1990 Bianchi Avalanche. There is not much information on this style. The bike is a quasi Mixte - it does not have twin lateral top tubes that meet at the rear axle - but is one top tube that connects with lugs to the seat tube. From there two separate seat stays go to the rear axle. It was not what I had expected, yet the lug work was still attractive. Here is a black version of the bike:

Photo credit: socialbicycles.com
I decided to go look at the Bianchi over the Halloween weekend. The frame appeared small for me but I would have to see it to confirm it either way. On Friday I noticed the listing was removed from Craig's List and I checked with the seller that it was gone.

I was mildly disappointed. It would have been nice to check out this style of bike. Because of the Bianchi's chromoly frame I know the weight would be lighter than my Ross. As much as I love the Mixte style what really matters to me is that it's a step through frame, without toe overlap, lightweight, low gearing, can accommodate racks and fenders, will have multiple positioned handlebars - I prefer mustache type. I do not mind working on this bike, or swapping out the Ross's parts. My perfect bike will be one that I can use on a multi-day bike tour. It's also one that I can ride in my later years when these bones can't move as quickly. One thing is for sure: my perception of the ultimate bike is ever-evolving.


  1. "One thing is for sure: my perception of the ultimate bike is ever-evolving."


  2. I often find myself pondering what bike I'll use when I can't swing my leg over a diamond frame or lean over drop bars anymore. Because, of course, I automatically assume I will still be able to pedal when everything is creaking and groaning :)

  3. BB - Yes, that is my point also. For general commuting and running errands I wholeheartedly prefer the step-through frame style. It just seems easier and I can wear skirts.

    Mind you, I'm not what I consider old yet, but I also find those multi-geared upright three wheelers with the big wire-framed basket (in back) very attractive. And surprisingly, my husband does also. We see our parents having balance problems who've given up cycling, but we are determined to keep on going with whatever we have to pedal. That may be an idealistic viewpoint, but we are cyclists and know there are many options out there.

  4. I hope you find your dream Mixte. Sorry this one slipped through the cracks.


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