Posted by: ham8cheese | November 5, 2009

goodbye giant, hello pixie

DSCF6196 Ta-da, it’s my brand spanking new pixie-sized bike – the REI house brand Novara Pulse bike.  It is pictured here consorting with Mr. Pigtales’ excellent pre-WWII Schwinn, which in theory has the same sized wheels as the Novara Pulse (26″) but looks like a hulking monster next to it (an elegant hulking monster, though).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started out several months ago with a Giant Cypress DX with a 15-inch-ish frame from craigslist, a bike that turned out to be way too big for my 5’2″ frame, even though I could just touch the ground when the saddle was adjusted to the proper height.  I thought that my troubles had more to do with my nonexistent cycling skills, but now that I’ve ridden the Novara Pulse, I know better.  There were lots of things NOT to like about riding the Cypress DX, at least for me – it had a suspension fork and suspension seat post, which rather than soften my ride just contributed to my feeling of instability on the bike.  Although the bike had 24 gears which were great for some bad ass San Francisco hills, it sounded like a team of hamsters were assisting in slowly creaking the gears into place every time I shifted.  Then there was the fact that the bike was a bit heavy for me – not a plus factor for someone who, embarassingly, can barely open jar lids.   I think the Cypress DX is probably a great, moderately-priced comfort bike for someone who’s looking for comfort and is tall enough to ride it.  But woe upon woe, it was not the bike for me.

I was definitely torn between wanting to get a bike that works for me, and thinking that since I’m not a serious cyclist that I should just muddle along with my beater bike.  But Mr. Pigtales wisely pointed out that having the right bike would mean I’d love riding it – and that would make me love cycling even more, whereas riding an ill-fitting bike could inhibit my acquisition of cycling skills and all that.  So we trudged around to different bike shops in the city, test riding a few different bikes.  And, of course, I spent hours online looking at craigslist and other bike manufacturers’ websites.

The Novara Pulse was the end result of my months-long search, and I am so glad I took my time.  I learned a lot, and ended up with a bike that is a perfect fit — even if it IS a “kid’s” bike (yeah, you heard me right – twelve-year old boys in spandex apparently ride my bike).  The important thing is that, as Mr. Pigtales likes to say, it’s a bike that whispers “go faster” in my ear . . .



  1. […] (While we’re on the subject of bicycle-related recession-prevention program activities (because really, what’s the point of getting into a new sport if you can’t spend all your time shopping for new gear?), since taking up cycling I have also become the proud new owner of a Terry Liberator X bicycle saddle (jury’s still out, ladies), bright yellow F’izik handlebar tape (to pimp my ride, of course), and some new brake pads to replace the somewhat janky ones on my otherwise awesome citrus-hued bike.) […]

  2. […] red 1941 Schwinn DX single-speed cruiser instead of his daily Raleigh Professional, and I rode my Novara Pulse (my only bike – at least for now!).  I savored the relative peacefulness of riding on Market […]

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