So…There I was, July, staring in the depths of the cobwebbed corner of the old, dark, dank, garage. It had been nearly 3 years since my first attempt at adulthood bicycling, and at getting myself back in shape. The Black 2008 Trek FX 7.3 Disc sat in silence with nearly 15 whole miles on it from new. How sad I felt. I had no rationalization as to why. At the time of purchase, I was in my worst condition, and almost at my heaviest, I remember the position was somewhat aggressive for me at the time, The ride was horribly painful and uncomfortable, and I had given up so quickly. I was lazy, and sedentary.
By that point, Lynn and I had had several discussions about the need to do something new. Since our beginnings we have always fantasized about the style and grace of commuting throughout Europe, whether by Vespa scooter (another love we shared) or by bicycle. She had decided that the time was right for her to get a bicycle for herself that reflected her love of that lifestyle, and it was clear she was going to ride with or without me. Of course all I could think about was my time on that Trek…in the garage…looking like it had been in an abandoned showroom waiting for a serious rider.
I had decided to do some research on these Dutch style bikes. After all, I am the type of guy who has to have something new once in awhile. Because, that was how I would get motivated again, right? Buy a new bike! Well, I found myself learning so many things about frame geometry and practical commuting needs, and I quickly fell in love with the style and even fantasized about the day I am able to commute every day, and go to Eastern Market every week to get groceries, etc. etc.
After some hesitation in reading about the origins and gender of the geometry, I found myself interested in the Mixte frame bikes. Some will say it means mixed, as in mixed gender; a man or woman’s frame. Some swear it was designed only for a woman. Knowing a thing or two about load bearing physics and geometry, I knew it would be a very strong, stable frame for someone like me. With my love of scooters…step-through in nature, I also saw this as a reasonable alternative without going to a full loop frame (read: Girly) step-through model. I knew I wanted my bike to have at least a rear rack, chain guard, and I wanted a more upright position.
Lynn and I both scoured the internet. We had a budget. We had our wants. We looked at what was available locally, which was only Electra, and Trek. None of the local stockists carried the models we wanted to see, favoring only Road, Race and Mountain Bike models. Online we came across Linus and Republic bikes. We knew we wanted to try to keep our preference to the same company, and one which we could order online from. One day, by sheer mistake I found PUBLIC Bicycles. I fell in love with their aesthetic. They had models that met both of our needs. They had the requisite (Lynn) pretty colors. They also had a branding and marketing feel which appealed to me, not unlike Vespa or even Apple, touting the lifestyle that went along with ownership. I fell in love with their Mixte frame.
From the publicbikes.com website:
I called PUBLIC. I was still little leery about ordering a bike online, one I couldn’t see or sit on, let alone test ride. From the onset of the conversation, I was greeted by a friendly, cheery voice. I had their full attention, and though I felt silly asking such NOOB questions, I was left with all of them answered and a feeling that I was making a good decision. We decided that I would order mine first , and Lynn would see the frame and see if she liked the geometry or opt for a Loop frame model. Knowing that this is what Lynn had wanted to do, and this was the place to do it, I made my decision.
I chose Public’s M3 in cream. Cream Rear Rack, Cream Bell, Cream Tires. Cream because it felt right and a little classier. Orange was a bit too loud for me, and baby blue just doesn’t do much for me. With the budget we had (and the awesome sales Public periodically runs), coupled with our relatively flat local roads, the 3-speed internal hub gearing became a good choice. Public offers a “Ready-To-Ride” option, where they ship the bike to you almost completely assembled for a larger shipping fee, OR you can have the bike shipped to a local bike shop. To me, the latter is just mean to the local shop who didn’t get the sale, but I may be misunderstanding how that works. Regardless, I am pretty handy, and opted for the Ready-To-Ride option for $125. Within hours after placing my online order, I received a phone call from Public, welcoming me to the family, and confirming all the details of my order. A little over a week later FedEx had dropped off a big bike box on my doorstep.
Stay tuned for a much less wordy, I promise, review of the Public M3, from unboxing and assembling to my first impressions.
Ohh Wait…The Trek….We’ll get back to that later.