We’ve all had that one bike. A bike that we get on the cheap, as a “beater” bike but end up spending most our time riding it. Ptrutz got this bike almost 20 years ago and it still, to this day, supplies them with joy…
Meet Whatshername. Tourer, commuter, grocery-getter, toddler transport, dog ambulance, shovel carrier, and occasional racer.
I met her at a local flea market in September 2001. I was looking for something to replace my previous utility velocipede – it was stolen. She had the cheapest gruppo one can imagine (plastic V-brakes) but the frame was solid, if a bit small for me. It wasn’t love – yet – but she was available. So I took her home.
I could probably write a novel about the componentry that adorned her at one time or another – that is, if I could remember it all. Suffice to say that all the bike parts I ever owned were bolted to her frame at least once. The original stem and the handlebar still soldier on.
In her current configuration she’s a two-speed; a length of chain between two quick links is removed and the remaining chain fits snugly on the small ring. A seldom used option but comes handy when riding on ice or leaving my flat homeland for something a bit more vertical.
The most expensive part on her is the Tubus rear rack. The second most expensive are the Ergon grips. The wheels are worth about two beers each – laced them myself from parts bought at the same flea market.
She gets one tune-up in spring and another one late autumn, when I install the fenders. She breaks about two cheap rear spokes per year and eats through drivetrains in winter – the chainline is not that great.
Those oversized tubes make for a heavy bike and a harsh ride off-road and the tarmac isn’t any better. But I can easily come back from the store with thirty kilos hanging from the Tubus plus my son riding the top tube.
It took me a while but I think I love her.
We’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!