Monday, 11 May 2009

the new ride

The bike I got over here is a Haro Mary SS. A single-speed, rigid, steel mountain bike. This is probably not what you think of when you think 'ideal moderate-distance commuter', but there are reasons for this choice.

Economics: with a new baby, living in a foreign country, etc. etc. a cheaper ride was in order. After being talked down by my wife from my initial 1000 pound idea, I started looking for the best sub-500 pound bike I could come up with. A fun challenge.

Terrain: we'll be moving to Cambridge in the fall, which is flat. One speed should be ok for the flats.

Versatility: if I want to, I can throw a derailleur hanger on and run this as a 1x9. I can commute on it (at lowish speed), mountain bike while we're in Scotland, and handle muddy paths in England.

Frame quality: this is actually a pretty nice frame, and if I love it I can ditch the wheels, ship it back to the US and keep it for years and years.

Curiosity: I've been intrigued by the single speed mountain bike idea, as well as 29ers, and this seems like a good time to try out both.

Aesthetics: it looks clean and put-together, and I'm not above that sort of thing.

I've ridden it about 10 miles so far, two trips through Magdaline Green and along the Tay. Today I went across the Tay Road Bridge. They have a lift to take bikes up to the road level, and then it's 1.4 miles of dead straight, slightly uphill riding to the Fife side. Gorgeous views of Dundee and the Rail Bridge. First impressions of the bike are great- the handle bars (the On-One Mary) threw me for a minute, and it looks a little funky, but it feels pretty great. I'm looking forward to trying the bike out on some singletrack to see how it rides there. The gearing (32-20) is great for the mild uphill of the Tay Bridge, and at my current edge for the steep hill from the Tay up to our place- but it's too low for a flat with a tailwind or slight downhills. When I get my legs under me I may swap down to 32-18 or 16, but for now it's fine. Anyway, so far I'm happy.


  1. Sounds like a nice bike choice, and I hope you enjoy your return to riding in a whole new setting. Thank-you for listing me among your liked blogs; I'm flattered to be listed along with those other blogs in particular. Although you aren't seeking readers, you've got one here...

  2. Hi Rantwick, thanks for stopping by and the good wishes. Very unexpected! I just came across your blog recently (when BSNYC highlighted your fixed gear), but in a flurry of internet activity I think I read through like everything you've posted. Good stuff.