Oh, the drama of bike lust!
As I’ve written before, I’m in the market for a good commuter bike. Not any commuter bike, but an upright model that has lovely lines, eight or more gears and doesn’t cost a fortune. What’s a girl to do?
Short tutorial if you need it: A mixte is a road bike frame that has a downward-sloping top tube(s) rather than one that is parallel to the ground, which is what you see on most bikes (those are diamond frames). The advantage to a mixte is good looks and ease of getting on the bike. No swinging your leg up and over, so it’s one version of a step-through frame.
Last week, I test drove a vintage three-speed step-through that a nice guy in town fixed up. It was lovely and ran smoothly, but three gears just ain’t enough for Bozeman hills and my old knees. I immediately test drove a women’s Trek Allant. I fell in love with the comfort and the smooth-shifting, but for me, the looks are just one small step away from the stodgy-looking comfort bikes that my parents (God bless ’em) are riding these days. I want to be Audrey Hepburn, not . . . well . . . I was going to say Elmira Gulch, Dorothy’s witchy neighbor in the Wizard of Oz, but check out her ride. Loop frame, front and rear baskets. It’s actually very cool, even though she wasn’t.
After spending waaaay too much time looking and drooling over bikes on the internet, I’ve once again decided that I want to turn a mixte frame into a commuter bike. I checked Craigslist, and found this old Motobecane, which shows promise. The owner just emailed me to let me know she still has it, but she lives 90 minutes away. I found another one on eBay in a beautiful color and in excellent shape, but I don’t know if I’m courageous enough to buy a bike I haven’t ridden.
The next step in this socially networked world, naturally, was to tweet my longing. A few minutes later, I heard that the Bike Kitchen right here in town might have a couple of mixte frames. Is it possible? Could it be? Stay tuned.
Other mixtes that make me swoon:
The color alone does me in. From Mixte Gallery.
Velouria’s beautiful makeover of an 80s Motobecane. From Lovely Bicycle!
NOTE: Here’s Wikipedia’s pronunciation guide for “mixte”: “A direct appropriation of the French word meaning ‘mixed’ or ‘unisex,’ ‘mixte’ is pronounced ‘MEExt’, although the usual North American bicycle industry pronunciation of this loan word is ‘MIX-ty’. Both pronunciations are widely used.”