Convention dictates that we settle in happy fulfilment with one love. We marry or co-habitate. We may disagree and argue but love grows and matures. We have children. And then we continue on. What if we find another love? Does it have to disrupt or compete with our first love? Or can it exist in parallel?
I love the Gazelle Ultimate T1 (UT1). It is a triumphant love. Perfect. Passionate. Amazing components, lovely upright position with adjustable handlebars, smooth as silk to shift, brakes to stop you in a heartbeat, a zillion gears to ascend hills. I could see myself with it forever. Appropriately priced for all of those reasons.
However, Chris at Omafiets in Redfern introduced me to the CityZen S9 when I returned the UT1. I was very sad to return it. But what can I say? I found my second love. It challenged me at first. The handlebar position was much lower. Chris raised the handlebar to its full height. It was still a much more aggressive stance. But I knew that I would have more leverage in that position to move faster through traffic and up hills. I noticed it was super light. Chris was kind enough to have installed mudguards, lights and a rack for me.
When I sat on it for the first time, it was a shock to be on a much “sportier” bicycle. I took it for a little spin outside the shop on the George Street Cycleway. There were workmen fixing the road. I was probably flashing them. My dress and the more acute angle of my body meant that my skirt was even shorter on the CityZen. F#@k it. I thought. I’m brightening their day. The Deore gear shift, the same as the UT1’s, was smooth. With nine gears instead of twenty-seven on the UT1, I knew that I would be standing up a bit more. But standing was a comfortable position on this bicycle! It nearly begged me to do so.
I returned to the shop exhilarated and in need of my jacket. I was feeling a little exposed but in the mild winter air I would take it off again closer to the city. One final adjustment to the seat meant that I would be hopping off to stop as it would be similar to the height of my road bike (shhhh!). I never expected to stop that way on a commuter bicycle. But then falling in love can be like that. Eye-opening and challenging.
While riding to the city, I kept thinking that the cranks on the CityZen were much longer than anything else I had ridden recently. It struck me a few days later, while in discussion with my husband Justin, that I was using the full power of my leg to pedal. The cranks had nothing to do with it. I had so much more power to ascend Wentworth Avenue hill in the morning and the College Street Cycleway back to Surry Hills in the evenings. On my eZee Sprint, the seat height is lower because I like to balance on my left leg while stopped at a light. Again, a different ride as the pedal-assist kicks in and I don’t need to exert as much force on the pedal to commence.
I went back a few days later and exchanged the seat for another. It was a pain inducing mechanism. Omafiets has a bicycle seat library, where for thirty dollars, it’s possible to test a number of different seats. The initial deposit goes toward the purchase of the seat that you ultimately choose. A great option for those who have “problem-child” bottoms like mine.
I’ve had the bicycle a few weeks now. I missed it while I was in Melbourne for the long weekend. Time enough to really fall in love, hard. Am I buying it? Yes. Absolutely.
Pros: Super light, Schwalbe Kojak tyres included, great colour and styling, smooth Deore 9-speed gear shift, a more accessible price, sportier aspect which makes it very maneuverable, low-maintenance roller brakes, super-comfortable grips.
Cons: No kickstand (but easy to get used to and no extra weight without it), lights, back rack or mudguards are not included, flashing possibilities are greater but never mind. And if anyone says anything to you just say, “What are you looking at?” and ride off.
Today’s ensemble: J.Crew dress, traditional gold Indian earrings, gold cuff, fake fur scarf, Yakkay helmet, Cartier Santos, BBB gloves, Witchery sunglasses, Geox boots, Zara jacket, Po Campo bag, Kryptonite lock.