Bike shopping

Vivente novara elite

Vivente novara elite

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I'm bike shopping at the moment. I don't own a car and so my bike is my sole means of transport. I ride it everywhere. But whenever I'm riding with my friends I'm always the last one up a hill, puffing and gasping as they wait, smiling, at the top.

For a while I thought I was just really unfit compared with them. But then one day I switched bikes with a friend. Hers is a dodgy old second-hand rusty mountain bike. I breezed up the hill to my house, while she lagged behind, puffing and gasping. It suddenly dawned on both of us: it wasn't me, it was the bike!

The bike was a Christmas gift a few years back. It's a comfortable sit-up-and-beg style hybrid. It wasn't expensive and so it's heavy. Its weight combined with the riding position makes it hard work to go up hills.

Last weekend I took a trip down to see the boys at Cheeky Monkey in Newtown. They don't have a big range, but what they have is carefully selected. They are recommending I upgrade to a Vivente novara elite (pictured), with a few extra bells and whistles to make it more robust for my daily commute (mud guards, slick tyres, and better brakes). I have a rack for the back already with a bag that slides onto it. It's a winning combo, so I'm keeping that bit.

So I'm pondering that particular purchase at the moment.
The trouble is, I'm a bit torn. I love the cycling chic look as exemplified in sites like this:

And I love old-school retro bikes.

But I also like to ride fast. It's fun.

So what I really need is a cool, retro-style bike that is fast to ride.
I think I'll pop into Clarence St Cyclery as well to see what they have on offer. It's good to shop around.