My Bike

Posted by on April 13, 2009 in Cycling | 0 comments

I’ve been wanting to start riding again. My mountain bike was stolen in DC a few years ago. The idea was to spend as little as possible on the best bike possible. That way, if I really take to riding again, it’ll be easy to justify buying a better bike later on down the road. And if I don’t ride it very much, I won’t feel too bad about the expenditure. I only work three miles from the office. I’m hoping I can ride to and from work a day or two each week, so I actually I need fenders and a luggage rack. I’m very patient when it comes to getting what I want, and it took me months to find what I was looking for.

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I got this Raleigh Sprite Mixte 10-Speed (circa 1978, coffee finish) for $60 at a local thrift store. The Sprite was a bit retro even in its own time, but it was also foward-looking. It has thoroughly modern gear and came in three frames. Most people assume that a diamond frame is a man’s frame and a step-through frame is a lady’s bike. That’s mostly true (the low bar helped with modesty), but it wasn’t always. Diamond-frame bikes were designed for riding long distances on the roads and step-through frame bikes were designed mainly for getting from A to B in town. That’s why they are sometimes called “townies” by cycle geeks.

The Mixte (French, pronounced MEEkst) was supposed to be the best of both worlds. It was big like a road bike, easy to mount and dismount because of the lower frame, and it had “townie” handlbars. It was the precursor to the now-ubiquitous hybrid mountain bike. Some people hate them, but I think that has more to do with what they’re used to riding.

Here’s the brochure for the 1978 Sprite. You can see the three different frames.

Now we just need to get my wife a new bike and we’ll be able to ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail through town.

UPDATE: On The Utility Of Thrift Stores

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