Since only one person has taken advantage of my offer to contact me with questions, I have decided to compile my favorite questions from my years at Bilenky Cycle Works. I have also included those that I wish would have been asked. It’s up to you to figure out which inquiries really took place and which we just dreamed up. And in honor of Valentines Day we will start with this question…
What kind of bike should I buy to attract the opposite sex?
-Looking for Love
Dear Looking for Love,
I ran this question by our lovely painter Isis who said she gets tons of gawkers when she’s riding her fixie, but no one notices her when she’s on her touring bike. So apparently this is a real dilemma and a serious issue for those seeking their bicycle beau. So you could ride a fixie to get noticed, but is that the attention you really want? You need to start by figuring out what type of cyclist/soulmate you are trying to attract, then buy the correlating 2 wheeled love machine. Do you want a nerdy, but cute, clean-cut man with a real job? How about a Brompton. Do DIY granola guys who buy locally grown food and have a plot in the community garden turn you on? Cargo bike all the way. Love tattoos, beards, and cut off jean shorts? Anything foreign and vintage with several high-end boutique parts thrown on. Think old school Peuegeot with some White Industry hubs, Chris King headset and Paul brakes. Whichever road you take for love, don’t change yourself for a guy. You can change yourself for a bike though. And above all – love the bike you’re with!
How can I transport my 30lb cat on a bike tour?
Dear Feline Fred,
The first order of business would entail your framebuilder fitting you and your feline friend and conducting a personality assessment. No, the assessment is not for you, it is for the cat. This would determine whether he/she prefers to ride up front on a traditional cargo bike or if they would rather a longtail rear load style bike. Then you move on to frame geometry, components, paint and of course cat accessories. Like whether the basket/rack should have a layer of scratchable, catnip infused carpet. Or you could adopt another cat so yours would not be lonely, buy some great cat toys that invite active play (30 lbs. is a little overweight), and invest in a trustworthy cat sitter.
If you have a mechanical issue and roll into the nearest bike shop, is it OK to ask to use their tools (assuming you know what you’re doing)?
No! This is my own two cents, so everyone feel free to weigh in. I do not have a retail space, nor is Bilenky Cycle Works a “roll into” type of shop, but I still think that it is in poor taste to do this. Would you walk into a salon and ask to use their blow dryer and smoothing serums? Most people can perform general maintenance on their bike, but you are now paying for a bike shop’s expertise, their time, and their tools. Let them make a living too. Ok? Thanks. And if you ever worked in any industry (especially bikes) where people have their own personal tools, then you know that sharing is not very often an option. Oh, the stories I could tell.
Is it a terrible idea to ride in high-heeled shoes?
Dear Couture Cyclist,
Ooooh the controversial women’s cycling issue of the season. Some say it is perfectly safe, and why compromise style when riding a bike? If you are a very experienced cyclist and feel completely comfortable biking in all types of gear and crazy conditions, then go for it. I won’t say I told you so, but don’t come crying to me for a band-aid when things go awry. I myself am clumsy and still lack a lot of cycling coordination. I guess being a good cyclist is not genetic…oh well. I also love my shoes! Why put my stilettos in jeopardy by scraping them on pedals and pavement? Oh, you are going to wear wedges or kitten heels? You know, there are lots of cute flats out there these days. There is so much to discuss here regarding fashion and bikes that we should probably continue this over tea. And a trip to Bloomingdales.
Is it socially acceptable to bring your front wheel into a restaurant?
In certain cities/neighborhoods you may be able to walk into a restaurant in head to toe spandex without being stared at, but in most places this is not the case – especially if you are touring and passing through smaller towns where cycling is not as prevalent. If you are going to command everyone’s attention you may as well go big or go home. So wear that spandex and sweaty helmet hair proudly and kick it up a notch by click clacking across the floor like a duck in your $200 SPDs carrying that front wheel. Be polite though, the wheel does not need its own chair.
Got a question for me? Ask away! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may or may not take it seriously…