Liza's Fuji

Picture of the Fuji

Liza's city bike, grocery/kid hauler, daily driver.

June 2006

Liza liked riding her CB-1, but didn't like that she couldn't wear dresses. In addition, she didn't like worrying about getting chain gunk on her pants. Liza has gone through a great bicyle transformation (revolution?) in the last few years. I've noted it in other bits of this site, so there's no reason to go into at great depth here. The bottom line is that she now rides daily. She rides in the rain. She rides with the kid and with a load and just rides. This bike was put together as an ultimate practical bike. It had to be a step-through frame so she could wear anything she wanted to and ride. She want to be able to put it on the bus, haul the kid, haul crud. It had to just work whenever she needed it.

We found the frame at a moving sale. It was a full bike with 12 gears. It was a mixte and had horizontal dropouts and was the right size, so we bought it. The gearing is acheived with an internal 8 speed hub. The chain gaurd (as you can see) was for a Bianchi Milano. Liza's favorite Ideale saddle, cork grips. New wheels. Ruffy Tuffy tires. Dove bars. The only thing left on this bike from when we bought it at the moving sale is the bottom bracket and the brakes. It's a fine bike and suits Liza well. In fact. She's not riding the RB-1 much at all lately. Hopefully that will change.

One thing that's not in the picture above is Maddie's seat. You can see the clamp that is attached to the stem. Here's what the seat looks like (hooked up to a different bike in the last two photos):

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Liza bought the seat in Italy. It's a great setup. Now we have two different bikes with two different front seats where Maddie rides (here's the other one). Putting the child in between the rider and the handle bars is a great system... for so many reasons:

  • Balance (compared to rear seat) is not even comparable. She feels like she becomes part of your own center of gravity. Pulling a trailer, especially if its loaded up and you're going slow (or too fast) can mess with your balance too... especially if you're riding a steel frame.
  • Conversation. When the child is in a trailer or behind you on a seat, you find yourself looking back all the time. This can be distracting, but it's also sort of like a car situation, where the kid is strapped somewhere behind you in sort of a passive/out of the way role. With her right there, it's a constant conversation and very active. Some of my favorite moments with Maddie are conversations we have as we tool around town.
  • The kid takes part in "driving." Maddie is learning to signal, she rings the bell when we approach walkers; she'll turns on the light. I think she's getting a better sense of how to ride bikes as a part of traffic by being involved "up front."

One obvious thing that won't happen with the front seat is nap time. If we're looking for a nap or if it's really cold/wet out, we'll get the Burley trailer out.

I want to list these benefits because I'm surprised that we don't see more of these around. The seats, like the one pictured above, is nearly impossible to find in the US, and that's a bummer, because, in my opinion, it is the best way to carry your under-40-pounder around for shortish trips.

More pics here.

July 06 Update
Liza found a skirt guard on ebay. It was listed as new old stock (NOS) -- implying that these are not made any more? What the hey? Why are these so stinking hard to find?? They are so practical. It's a set of elastic bands straped to a ring. The ring goes around your axle nut; the elastic bands have little hooks in them. You drill 32 holes on each side of your fender, slip the hooks into the holes and you're good to go. Works like a charm. These should be on every bike with a step through frame. Damn.

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