Thursday, 7 April 2011

A Pootling Success

Yesterday was a lovely, warm spring day. The Golden Child was in school and the missus and I were both off work together. The missus said "What do you want to do today?" and I replied "Go for a bike ride together?". And that is how it came to be.

The missus is not a confident cyclist. She learnt to ride a bike in her 20s and never gained much experience or confidence after that. She bought a completely unsuitable "mountain bike" a long time ago which weighs in at just under a half a ton and handles like a pig. She has hung on to and is reluctant to change steeds as she feels there is no point throwing good money after bad. She has cycled a little more frequently with me but likes nice quiet trails and parks. She does not like cycling on the roads.

For a local ride we normally drive the half mile or so to Heaton Park and then unload the bikes which irks me somewhat but needs must I suppose. I have kept suggesting she would be fine cycling to the park along the quiet(ish) road if I cycled behind to shield her from vehicles. On this day she was obviously persuaded by my argument (or got fed up hearing it!) and agreed. Result.

We had an uneventful road based section with a hop off and push at a busy junction, a very pleasant pootle in the park with only one accidental dismount, a relaxed picnic lunch and a safe cycle home. The upshot is the missus had a great time and wants me to get her a more suitable bike. Brilliant!

Now what should I go for? Any suggestions? I need a lightweight(ish), easy to handle and maintain bike. I know I need to avoid deraulliers (she hates them) and so will be looking for hub gears. It's going to be used primarily in fair weather and on gentle terrain. I'm tempted using this as an excuse to get a Brommie which I could also have use of but is that just being a tad too selfish? What other bikes can anyone suggest?


  1. Well, exactly the same with my good lady!
    She rides a cycle with deraulliers all round and cannot even after years of riding still “Get it right”.
    A friend of hers has a Claude Bulter Kensington which has a 5 speed Sturmey Archer gear system and my wife really likes riding it

  2. A Dutch bike is the obvious solution, maybe something like this -

    It has a 3-speed hub gear, a chain cover (to keep messy parts out of the way), a rack, mudguards, dynamo lights, kick stand, integrated lock - basically all the things that make using a bike nice and easy.

    It would be the perfect thing for pootling. Plus it looks great.

    Or at least I think so.

  3. i agree with the Dutch but would go second hand for a Gazelle
    Pretty thriving market down here in London not sure what is it like in Manchester or ebay

  4. The Brompton is a nice bike but I think there is a serious risk of it accidentally becoming yours instead.

    A Pashley Princess of similar would seem to be the best bet, although a cheaper option is the Charge Lazy Susan, currently going cheap at Evans. If you fancied doing a bit of refurbishment, an old Twenty going be upgraded into a lovely practical ride too (plus I could possibly get some more wheel-building business out of that one)

  5. I agree with MrC, that's what I am looking for my mum :) btw lovely video and choice of song (I did go "awwww"!).

    Bike dates are my favourite :D

  6. I'd already thought 'Dutch' was the way to go but wanted some support for my idea of a shared Brommie. MrC nailed it thought - it would 'accidentally' end up being mine!

    For cost and, even more importantly, for size (the missus is less than 5') I have veered towards a Claude Butler Kensington. There is one coming into the LBS for a trial next week. Hope she likes it.

  7. Due to garage space issues I very kindly replaced my wife's budget supermarket MTB with a Cannondale F5 which was sized for her and not me. She's ridden it twice though did about 18 miles with me and pillion son last May.

    Lovely video and sweet soundtrack, I really must show it to a special someone.

  8. You might like to read and

  9. @Christopher

    Thanks for the links. I've already ordered the Claude Butler in the smallest size possible. A 15" which was smaller than some other models came in. Will be taking the missus to try it out in the next couple of days.