When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. - Elizabeth West
Purpose and Mission
To share our experience and to encourage and inspire others to use a bicycle as a form of year round recreation and transportation. To be an example of living car-free and to help others to make the transition to having a car-light or car-free life style.
This Specialized Myka is an example of a modern entry level mountain bike from a large mass market manufacturer. One of the benefits received from buying a bike from one of the big players, is the experience they have gained. All of the years of manufacturing bicycle frames shows up in all of their bikes, regardless of the cost.
Your bicycle frame is the heart of your machine. The heart of this bike is a fairly light weight aluminum mountain frame with women's geometry. The goal with this bike is to build a bike tough enough to handle the varied terrain and weather for all year riding in our northern climate.
This Specialized Myka is the women's version of the ever popular Hardrock.
As Specialized bikes have progressed technologically over the years, the key features from the state of the art models trickle down into the second and third tier model lines. A frame that comes on their most entry level of bikes today is based on the same frame that was the top of the line some years ago. The price of entry level bikes are more often than not, a reflection of the parts attached to them than they are a reflection of the quality of the frame. You can get a nicely built frame at all price levels these days.
This particular bike was originally the least expensive model in the line up. This is perfect for our application because we will be removing all of the original drivetrain parts and replacing them with a quality 9 speed drivetrain for the warm weather months. We'll do a follow up post once winter arrives detailing the single speed conversion process in preparation for the worsening road conditions.
The 1x9 drive system.
Having suspension on a bicycle is unnecessary for a bike designed for city riding. It just adds extra weight and complexity and this is even more true of the entry level models. The fork that came off of this bike weighed like an anchor. There are bicycles that we will be rebuilding that have light weight quality suspension forks installed and we will continue to use, but this was not one of them. These mountain bike frames are allowing us to use high volume tires at low pressures. This can add more to the quality of the ride and comfort than a cheap heavy suspension fork.
We replaced the heavy front suspension fork with a light weight aluminum rigid version and installed a 2.3" tire.
This bike can go anywhere you want to go in just about any type of weather condition. Inexpensive used bikes like this Myka show up for sale everywhere. With a high quality frame as the basis for an urban assault bike, real fun can be had for a relatively small amount of money. This bike is well suited for urban/suburban exploring regardless of the surface encountered. This is a real benefit in a place where the pavement always leads to dirt. Giddy Up!
Bikes that perform don't have to be any less versatile. These frames also make it easy when you have stuff that you need to haul. The relatively long back end of the bike makes it easy to mount a rack and install panniers without the worry of interference with your heels while pedalling.
The long wheelbase allows you to mount a rack and panniers without worry of heel strike on the bags.
We hope to have illustrated that you can take an inexpensive bike, the type that is sold by the thousands, and can easily convert it into a bike more suited to the conditions in which it will be ridden. 26" wheeled mountain bikes is the largest category of bikes sold. Mountain bikes are sold to cityfolk everywhere. Our Myka lost considerable weight and is far easier to pedal in its new configuration. It can really haul when given the "gas" by the rider and can climb any hill you will encounter.
The rider of this bike can go anywhere she chooses. I believe that is what it's all about. The feeling you get from knowing you can tackle anything your environment throws at you. Riding a bicycle should not restrict you from going anywhere you need to go.