The Quest For The Perfect Bike

September 11, 2013

how-to-choose-a-bikeFriend of Second-Shift Athlete Toy Vano just bought her first New York bike. We love this story because it shows the importance of knowing what you want…and going with the flow. Plus, how cute is this girl with her bike? Thanks for sharing your story, Toy!

I have been day-dreaming about my ideal Brooklyn bike forever. FOR-EV-ER. (You’ll notice I say just Brooklyn because only INSANE people would ride in Manhattan.) So when I made the decision to just go for it, I sat down and did what any professional 20-something woman would do when facing a task, I made a list:


1. It has to be green (most important)
2. It has to be adorable (still pretty important)
3. Preferably vintage (duh)
4. Preferably a Schwinn (because all of the other bike brands whose names I do not know will just not do.)
5. Woman’s bike fit for a taller woman (I’m 5’8″)
6. Under $150 (that’s not asking too much is it?)
7. Must have a comfy seat (how do people sit on those awful duckbill looking things?)
8. 3 Gears (I’m not sure what these do, but everyone’s saying they matter)
9. Basket (you know, so I can bike around with my cat…or a six-pack of cider)
10. Great working condition (if it goes…I’m good)

Full disclosure: before this hunt, I hadn’t ridden a bike since the pink and green one (stylin’!) my parents bought me at Wal-Mart when I was about 10. So not only was this my first bike since moving to New York, it was also my first adult bike ever. I had no idea if my ideal bike was the kind of bike I needed to get around the city, and I had no idea if said bike actually existed. I visited every bike shop in Park Slope and Greenpoint, the two Brooklyn neighborhoods I frequent most, and they were asking (what I thought at least) exorbitant prices for rusty old white (not green!) bikes. I scoured Craigslist and YardSale without any luck, and I still haven’t figured out how to turn off the phone notifications for the latter. I had pretty much given up the hunt.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that a friend of mine had purchased a cute vintage Schwinn for $100 from a dude named Victor who sold used bikes out of his basement on my block. I was so stoked and convinced that this was it. I would buy a bike from Victor. As soon as I descended the steps into the basement I went directly to two bikes. They were green, vintage Schwinns in very good shape. They also had no other “must haves” that were on my list. “These.” I said. “I want to try these. How much?” After taking both of them for a spin (and most definitely flashing Victor as I mounted them) I settled on the cheaper for $170. A gorgeous, single-speed with cruiser-break, men’s 1973 Schwinn Speedster bicycle. It took me mere 5 minutes to make up my mind, and he even let me ride the bike to the bank because I didn’t have enough cash on me.

Her name is Milly, and I didn’t think I could love a non-living thing more than my Macbook Air, but the verdict is in, and she’s my new favorite possession. Even Sadie (previously mentioned cat) is a little jealous when I come home from work and go right back out with Milly. Oh, and I totally ride all over Manhattan now – so take that cab drivers.

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