in cycling

Try One On For Size

a Rivendell Betty Foy bicycle in a field

Rivendell Betty Foy in Pemberton, BC

If you’re anything like me, you try a lot of things on for size as you go through life.

Maybe you’ve gained, lost, (and in my case, regained) weight. As our bodies fluctuate, we sometimes lose sight of what size we wear at any given point in our lives. Vanity sizing only complicates matters, so if you’re buying anything but the basics, chances are you have to try on clothes before you buy them.

If you’ve moved from one town, one state, or one country to another, you may play with different identities, or try on a new outlook on life. When a person’s physical geography changes, I find that their mental geography often follows suit.

I’ve tried on a lot of different bicycles over the years. I’ve owned a Norco hybrid, a Trek comfort bike, a Batavus Fryslan Dutch city bike, a Rocky Mountain road bike, and, most recently, a Norco City Glide bicycle. While each of these bikes held a special place in my heart, I was always in search for the perfect bike. I wanted a bike that could take me anywhere and everywhere I wanted to go, and I didn’t want to have to worry about tire size, or bike weight, my own fitness (or lack thereof).

Why am I writing about this? Maybe it’s to justify my bicycle obsession, but that’s not the only reason. I want new cyclists to understand that trying a lot of different bikes and riding styles on for size is completely normal, and is part of the process of becoming a more confident rider. As your skills mature, it’s highly likely that your needs might change. Go with that. Don’t try to make do because you’re afraid of seeming flaky or indecisive. You might have to buy — and sell — a lot of bikes until you find the one(s) that work best for your type of riding. There are as many different kinds of bikes as there are riders, and you won’t truly know which style fits your life until you try one or more on for size.

(I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to do a full review of the Betty Foy. All I know is that she rides like no other bike I’ve ever owned, and I fell deeply in love with this bike at first ride.)