Sunday, May 3, 2009


First things first, I needed a bike. I wasn’t sure, though, about what kind to get or where to get it. Naturally, my first concern over the kind of bike was that the bike not crumple beneath me. I started out googling things like “overweight bike” and “bikes for fat people.” I found forums where there were tons of people expressing their similar fears. Many offered suggestions, but it felt a bit like the blind leading the blind. I decided that finding a good local bike shop with knowledgeable, experienced bikers would be a better place to start. As usual, I turned to Yelp.

Roscoe Village Bikes was highly recommended, their website was well designed and they were just a few blocks from my house. I emailed the shop with some general questions and background info before going in. I needed a bike for everyday use; commuting to work, hauling groceries, and fun. The owner, Lesley, made some suggestions and assured me that my weight was not an issue. Sure, some parts may wear down over time, but a well-crafted bike would carry me just fine. I went in a few days later to take a look at the bikes and maybe test ride a few. At that time I was pretty sure I wanted a steel bike, most likely a hybrid commuter or a flat-bar road bike. Lesley showed me the KHS Urban Xpress, the Jamis Coda, and the Redline 9. They all seemed to meet my needs, but none really stood out to me. I went home with their catalogs, resigned to do some thinking and internet research.

I mulled it over for about a week (or two...), going back to the shop and doing multiple test rides. I spent every spare moment looking through the catalogs and at the manufacturer websites. I began to lean toward the Jamis Coda. Jamis seemed like a good company and all of their bikes looked great. During one visit to the shop, Lesley mentioned they had an ’08 model of the Jamis Satellite Femme, a steel road bike, in my size. I took it out for a spin fully expecting to not like it, but the super thin road tires, the dropped handle bars, the teeny-tiny saddle, they all made for a really fantastic ride. The bike felt so quick and responsive. I realized that while the Xpress, Coda and 9 could all get the job done, what they were missing was the fun. That particular bike had a few cosmetic defects that kept me from purchasing it, but it did lead me to try another Jamis road bike that ended up coming home with me that day.

Behold, the Jamis Sputnik.

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