Today I got my new bike. I am in love.
Funny thing is, I saw this bike at Curbside Cycle in early March and was told it was too big for me. It's a 57cm frame which is for riders over 170cm or just over 5'7" and I'm only 168.5cm--5'6".
So I waited for them to get in the smaller bike and when I rode it, it felt too short. I rode it again on another visit, and it still felt like my butt was hanging off the back of the seat.
Last week, after riding two Velorbis models (which still kept that bike in contention--but the price really is prohibitive) and a Pashley Princess which was very nice, I asked if I could ride the 57cm Toer 7 speed to see if the gearing worked for me. I still felt like 3 speeds weren't enough; mostly because the steps in between the gears are so big. I also live at the top of a pretty big hill and would like a few of the lower gears to help that climb.
I rode the bright white version of the bike (which seemed like riding a tube of toothpaste colour wise) and the bike started quietly begging me to take it home.
The bike was a bit tall; I can just reach the ground with my tiptoe with the seat all the way down, but the top tube length was just right.
Ally, the very nice salesperson talked me through the pros and cons of a larger frame. She made some adjustments, let me ride the smaller Gazelle for comparison and then literally, sent me out in traffic (on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend no less) to really get a feel for the bike.
I didn't mention it had a coaster brake. Suddenly I wanted that too. I like how you can use it to moderate your speed with your feet instead of your hands and how the bike stops more gradually instead of abrubtly. I also liked how the front handbrake was on the right side leaving my left hand for signalling. The whole experience was fantastic.
But, this bike is a limited edition replica of a 1968 model (though this classic Omafiet is pretty much the same frame they made in 1892) and only comes in Premium White (I have this thing about white vehicles) or what's called Rembrandt White, which is more of a hard to describe creamy green colour. I wasn't sold on those options.
So I asked about ordering the black 8 speed that doesn't come with coaster brakes, went home empty handed needing to wait on whether a black bike was available. I thought about the bike all weekend and into the next week.
Thursday I finally managed to get out at lunch and back to Curbside. I rode the Rembrandt White bike. Two hipsters commented on it's fine looks while I was rode--I don't really care what hipsters think--I found the whole interchange funny since I'm well, not very hip! I noticed how the Brooks seat added a nice vintage touch to the overall design. It was pretty.
Today I brought her home. There are beautiful, apparently handpainted, red stripes and accents on the fenders (this spot makes me thing someone really did paint these stripes--they are just a little too human looking),
Emma has already adopted Claudia and I think they'll have a lovely time together. I will likely ride her again sometimes too, but I can already feel the difference of this bike. The bumps are less bumpy, the gears are silent and nothing rattles.
So why is she Wilhelmina?
I wanted a Dutch name so did some searching and discovered that Wilhelmina is a Dutch royal name which I think suits a big regal bike like this one.
And I've always remembered this Sesame Street bit for W-W-W-Willamena so I couldn't resist.