Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Favored Son

As my bicycle stable has, well, stabilized for the time-being, I'm finding that I do not love all my children just the same. I find myself drawn to the Huffeigh even for errands that might better belong to either the Columbia or the Schwinn.

Two nights ago, I ran to the market for beer, a half-gallon of milk, and one of those little watermelons. It ended up being quite a heavy little load of stuff. Instead of taking the Columbia or the Schwinn, which are better-equipped to take this kind of load, I couldn't resist the stately allure of the Huffeigh, with its new Brooks saddle and cork grips and bell and gleaming black paint. I was a little surprised to find that the whole disproportionately heavy load fit quite nicely into the little basket I've mounted on the rear rack, and I had no trouble at all.

The bikes have also fallen into clear roles: the Columbia is the work-horse, the grocery bike, the long-hauler. It sits me forward a bit more, the saddle is higher, and I feel like I pedal it more efficiently -- better for hard work. The Runwell, which has been idle for some time awaiting new tires, is always going to be the older gentleman who doesn't get out much, I'm afraid. And the Schwinn, well, the Schwinn is quite comfortable, but ungainly and heavy.

But the Huffeigh is just the right combination of all three: it can carry a load, it's sufficiently old, and it's very comfortable. I just like it, is all. So now we're about to go on a picnic, and although I probably should take one of the other bikes, I think it's going to be the Huffeigh again.


  1. Your problem, sir, is that you have too many of the same bike. I have four that I regularly ride. The 1994 Nishiki hybrid I call my daily commuter, but when the weather is nice or particularly warm, I'm apt to take a different bike. Maybe it's becoming my bad weather bike.

    My only drop-bar bike is 1983 Raleigh Marathon. Not flashy but effective. It's my weekend bike, especially when going on the breakfast ride with my bike club. On this bike I'm almost fast enough to keep up with the "swifty" group which runs a 20 mph pace. I used to use it as a backup commuter but I've taken rack and fenders off it.

    My 1973 Schwinn Varsity Sport started out with drop bars but I recently converted it to a Tourist with upright bars, along with Wald baskets in the rear. It is a good backup commuter. It isn't fast, but that makes it better in the hot weather when it's better to just cruise along (in the shade as much as possible).

    I have an older gentleman as well; in fact I call him The Old Gentleman. It's my 1966 Raleigh DL-1, complete with rod brakes. I don't take him out often. In fact the Varsity does everything The Old Gentleman does, but with 10 speeds compared to the DL-1's 3, so the Varsity does it all a little better.

    But there's just something about the ride of the Raleigh, as you probably know from your Huffeigh. The ride just can't be beat.

  2. I would probably take the Huffeigh, too. Something about that ride quality...