I've been trying to persuade me' Goldberry (Tolkien fans will know what I'm talking about) to get a bike for a couple of years now. But she hasn't been very interested. But about 4-5 weeks ago, she let me know that she would like to begin riding again.
Knowing that she would only be interested in very casual, 3 to 10 mile rides, and only if she was extremely comfortable (she doesn't even like to walk uphill and I haven't seen her run in 20 years) on the bike, I put together a list of comfort bikes. I figured she would probably like a pedal-forward bike best, as that would put her closer to the ground and they are very stable. I also figured she would like internal hub gearing as she hates mechanical complexity in all things.
But to be sure I set up some variation in the demo rides. I called around and found who had what in stock. So we went out this morning to try out the following: Trek Pure, Trek Navigator, Giant Cypress, Giant Suede, Specialized Carmel 26, Electra Townie. My bets were on the 3 speed Townie and Pure.
It was first to the Trek shop. She loved the 3-speed Pure DLX. Comfy seat, comfy riding position, easy to shift, front hand brake and coaster brake. Didn't like the Navigator much, hating the 21-speed shifting and lack of coaster brake.
Then to Giant & Specialized store. Didn't like the Cypress for the same reasons as the Navigator. Liked the Carmel 26 2 w/3pd much better but not as much as the Pure. Liked how the Suede felt and rode, but it had 7-spd derailleur gearing that she didn't like.
Last up was REI and the Electra Townie. They rolled out a pink Townie 3i and it was love at first sight. Adjusted to fit her and off she went on a test ride. She rode and rode, even up a few minor slopes, and loved every minute of it. Said it was very comfortable and felt so natural to just jump on and ride. Another 50+ woman was there at the same time, test riding a Townie 21D and saying the same things. They rode together for a few minutes, complimenting each other's bike. The other woman bought hers too.
Best yet, REI had their 15% discount bike sale on, so the Townie 3i was the least expensive bike she tried.
I was a little wary about getting just a 3-speed. I kind of hoped that she would like the Carmel 2 or Navigator riding position, so then I could order a Raleigh Circa 2 w/8-speed hub from REI. I was concerned that she would find 2nd gear to be a bit taxing, but that wasn't the case at all. She was riding up slight inclines in 2nd gear with no problems. But as she liked the true pedal/crank-forward design better than all three of the comfort bike relaxed seat positon of the Carmel/Navigator/Cypresss, that ruled out the Circa.
So while I take months to slowly sort through my options, she was down in a little over 2 hours (in part due to my considerably narrowing it down based on what I thought she would like).
No pics as yet, but I've attached a stock image of the bike. She loved the Pink Pearl color, which is an exact match to her pink pearl toe nail polish.