My old B’Twin mountain bike has bitten the dust. In a manner of speaking, of course.
The chain broke. To make matters worse, the Decathlon technician quoted me a price of $200 to completely overhaul my bicycle, considering how many rusted components it had. And as he himself put it, at that price point, I might as well buy a whole new bike.
At the same time, I have been diagnosed with scoliosis and Stage II degenerative disc disease. As the orthopaedic surgeon puts it, my spine is older than my biological age, and he would have put me up for a medical downgrade if I hadn’t already been discharged from the Army two years ago.
The surgeon expressly forbade me from running marathons from this point on. When I asked him what was the maximum distance I can run, he refrained from giving me an exact number only that ‘it’s definitely a LOT less than 42.195 km’. I guess he did not want me to push myself to whatever limit he set for me and end up having me sue him should I injure my back further.
More to the point, he suggested I take up cycling and/or swimming, and he got interested when I told him that I often rode my bike to work. He suggested getting either a hybrid bike or a city bike as these tend to place a lot less stress on my back compared to road bikes.
After some research, I went with the Bobbin Brownie bike at the Footloops shop in Tai Seng.
It cost me $550, which, while a little stiff compared to Decathlon, was after a pretty hefty discount of its original price of $800.
Coming from a rumble-and-tumble mountain bike, it took a fair bit of adjustment for me to get used to a simple city bike without any suspension system and just seven gears instead of the usual 21 gears. However, the ergonomics are definitely a lot better for my back back. A 12 km ride from my home to my workplace used to give me an aching back. Now I hardly feel any discomfort apart from sweat and the expected fatigue from cycling 12 km.
I’ve also taken the additional measure of buying a Decathlon bicycle trailer to ferry my kids to and from school. Decathlon Singapore doesn’t sell them anymore, but I found a guy on Carousell who still had it brand new in box.
My verdict? It’s a good bicycle. I won’t win any kind of bicycle race with it, but it gets me from point A to point B (and subsequently to point C) very well. If anything, it takes me the same amount of time as public transport to send my kids to school, and subsequently, for me to reach my office.
No, seriously. Buses have to stop at lots of bus stops, and are particularly vulnerable to traffic snarls. I don’t have to stop at bus stops, and I can ride on the pavement if I have to. About the only drawback that I have with my bicycle is that it is vulnerable to the weather, and I can’t ride in the rain if I value my personal health.
Otherwise, once you get the bicycle, commuting is free. And no one can argue about its health benefits – especially for a young daddy of two little girls who hardly has time to get any serious exercise these days.
So, in case you’re thinking about getting a bicycle for work commuting, stop thinking already, and start getting one.