refurbished vintage touring bike "for women who fear roadbikes," I kept coming back to the connection between cycling and the Ride Report. If you've spent any time browsing blogs and websites about bicycles, you are no doubt familiar with the genre. While at its most basic level, a ride report is simply a description of a bicycle ride, it is really so much more. Some are infused with a seriousness and depth of analysis that is normally reserved for historical descriptions of war battles. Others are light-hearted and hilarious. Others still are impressively dull, filled with endless lists and technical descriptions. A Ride Report can resemble a travelogue, a parable, a newspaper article, or an entry in a physical fitness diary. A Ride Report can be self-aggrandising or self-depricating. A Ride Report can describe a 1,000 mile tour or a 1 mile trip to the grocery store with equal degrees of drama and suspense. At the heart of it, a Ride Report tells us less about the ride itself than about the cyclist - and the cyclist's relationship to their surroundings, their bicycle, and the very experience of riding a bike.
Not all of us excel at the Ride Report. I for one can seldom think of anything interesting to write about the rides I take - possibly because I space out and daydream through most of them! But a good Ride Report is a thing of beauty, and so I invite you, challenging as it may be, to try your hand at it. Here are the rules:
In a narrative style of your choosing, describe a bicycle ride that is memorable or significant to you. It can be any sort of ride - transportation, recreation, sport, whatever. Please limit the length of the writing to what would constitute a typical blog entry. Accompanying images are a plus, but not required. Submit your Ride Report either by putting it online and posting a link to it here (preferred!), or by emailing a document to "filigreevelo at yahoo" with the subject header "Ride Report." You are welcome to submit even if you are not entering to win this bicycle. I will compile a sampling of entries and post it for everyone to enjoy. Submission Deadline is 18 September, 2011.
With the support of Harris Cyclery, Velo Orange, and a number of my readers, I am giving away a refurbished vintage touring bicycle to a woman who might benefit from it. Pictured above, this bicycle is described in elaborate detail here. Please read that post carefully to decide whether the bike is for you, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments here.
The bicycle is a 52cm frame with 27"x28mm tires and a longish top tube. It is best suitable for persons 5'6" - 5'8", depending on your proportions and how high you like to set up the saddle. The dusty-lilac, early 80s Japanese cro-moly frame is in "good" used condition. It is fitted with mostly modern components (Velo Orange, Nitto, Tektro, MKS, etc.) and is completed with fenders, a bottle cage, a saddlebag and a small air pump. The frame has comfortable relaxed angles, and no toe overlap. The bicycle is a 12-speed. For additional details and lots of pictures, once again please see this post.
This bicycle was built up with a female in mind. The ideal candidate is a cyclist who would like to ride a bike with drop bars, but has found roadbikes difficult, painful, intimidating, or otherwise problematic. The bike being given away is more tame than what you are likely to find on the market today, be it new or secondhand, without spending a fortune, and I hope that it will allow someone out there to enjoy a new form of cycling by easing into it gently and gradually.
Once again, the entry deadline is 18 September, 2011. Good luck, and thank you for taking part!
[Edited to add: The recipient has now been announced here. Thank you everyone for taking part!]