Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hamilton, Meet Linus.

Hamilton, this is Linus.  For the first time ever, these classic French inspired city bikes are available in Hamilton, carried exclusively by (what is in my opinion) the city's best bicycle shop, Downtown Bike Hounds (DBH).

Perhaps it was pre-destined, or perhaps it was serendipitous chance, but Linus came to Hamilton at the exact moment I began looking for a new commuter bike.  From the moment I laid eyes on Linus, I was transfixed and no matter how many other bikes I came across, the clean elegant lines of Linus remained entrenched in my minds eye. 

I researched, oh how I researched.  I learned about Linus' durable hi-tensile steel frame that would last for years and years, its shimano nexus internal hub that would mean little maintenance and exquisitely smooth shifting, the genuine hand-stitched leather grips, and the double wall alloy rims with stainless steel spokes.
On paper, Linus was perfect.  But how would it ride?  To find out, I went over to DBH for a test drive.  The store's owner, Sean, graciously lent me one of his shiny new floor models to take for a spin, a 3 speed Roadster Sport.  I kid you not, the moment Linus and I set out a grin spread across my face, a grin so wide that at the end of my longer-than-it-should-have-been test drive, my teeth actually hurt from the exposure to the cold spring air.  Oh yes, this was the bike for me.

I'll admit...I was hesitant at first.  Would 3 speeds be enough in a hilly city such as Hamilton.  After all, I was a youngster in the '90s when, for some reason, bicycle manufacturers convinced the public that mountain bikes were the way to go - and the more speeds the better!  At least 15, if not 18 or 21 speeds were needed, weren't they.  The answer is no.  Unless you are using your mountain bike to, uh, ride up and down mountains, chances are you don't need more than 3 speeds.  In fact, purists will tell you that a single speed is all you need.  Either way, I went with the 3 speed and now we are pretty much inseparable. 

Here we are at Hamilton's beautiful Bayfront Park:

And in front of the Gore Park fountain, right in the very heart of Hamilton's downtown:

And even though we didn't feel the most welcome, here we are on Main Street, separated from Hamilton's City Hall by 5 lanes of speeding one-way traffic :
Linus and I don't drive down this road yet, but we're hopeful that Hamilton's long-entrenched car-culture dominance will continue to subside, making way for complete streets; streets for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shop keeper.

Until then, Linus and I will happily ride (most) of Hamilton's streets.  And if someday you are driving your car and briefly get stuck behind me, feel free to wave (and not just with one finger).



Anonymous said...

Tessa - no need to be jealous, we know for sure you are Kyle's first love!

- jbs

white collar | green soul said...

This post is very entertaining - I do love how you've phrased it. And I also love your bike... wait 'til I bring out my 20 year old, neon yellow 10-speed. Oh, how jealous you will be then.

I should give her a name....

Anonymous said...

How much did this beautiful bike cost? I may need to get a Linus myself.

Anonymous said...

Great post Kyle. I'm looking for a nice, simple commuter bike to replace the rusty beach cruiser I'm currently riding and Linus is at the top of my list. My only remaining question is whether to go with the single or the 3-speed model. My neighborhood is mostly flat but there are a few scattered hills. Which model would you suggest that I choose?