I love my grocery getter, and it really kind of sucks at the job *g*. So this year is devoted to finding and test riding as many replacements as possible. I would prefer a bike/frame with an internal gear hub, a hub generator, and a full chaincase. 26" wheels are a plus since I have short legs and this is a cargo bike. I like playing with mechanical toys, but I also hate damaging a mechanical toy when the damage is preventable.
Bad stuff with my poor grocery getter include:
- I've got some malformed bones in my feet. This means I've got damaged ankles, knees and hips so some days are an arthritic pain in my ass. My right hip is rotated 17 degrees. More damage! The bike is a diamond frame and on a bad day it's hard to mount, dismount and stop safely. And if I have trouble on hills, odds are I'm going to fall. Not good. My body being busted isn't the bike's fault, but the frame and I are a bad match. A step through frame would be better for me since I could ride on more bad days.
- suspension fork means no load up front, poor hill performance and no real improvement on potholes. My dream replacement would take a front basket *and* still have use of the headlight. Between library trips, grocery shopping and all the other errands, I can easily hit 50lbs of cargo. Really, I could probably hit more, but the current bike gets scary at 45lbs, and 50lbs is brutal when I'm walking.
- long reach (22.2" effective top tube on a 17" mountain frame) I'm long torso for a woman, but that's Too Damn Long even for me
- I can't get a good position for my rear end in relation to the pedals and this ticks my knees off. I do not need my knees ticked off more as joint replacements are expensive.
- flat handlebar ticks my wrists off on rides longer than 10 mi. I don't have any diagnosed RSI and I would like to keep it that way. See previous commentary on joints and repair work.
So, I am seeking suggestions from the floor for a regular length bike. A long bike is well... long. Since I have indoor storage in my building's basement, I need the bike to be manageable in tight spaces. Breezer is on my list and is available locally. So are the REI commuter/utility bikes (no chaincase sucks, but the budget would appreciate the cheap). And of course Trek/Gary Fisher are easy (not that they have anything really *useful* in the US, but a girl can dream right?). What else should I seek out to test ride?