Hipster Bike Lesson 2: Your Bike is Too Big!

September 2, 2008 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Dear San Francisco,

You lured me in with your painted ladies, your suspended bridges and steep hills. You wowed me with the wiggle, pleased me with the Panhandle and made me giddy with Golden Gate Park. Your streets are teeming with cyclists; your festivals abounding with bikes. But the closer I looked, the more baffled I became: not only were your cyclists pushing single speeds with single brakes, but 1 in 3 bikes I saw was TOO big!

It’s easy to look cool with a bike- bikes are sexy, bikes are hot, bikes look good with anything outfit. And of all the bikes out there, it is the vintage steel frame that is the most pure and sexy. But there’s a problem…. Your bike is TOO big! And that, my two-wheeled vixens, is not hot.

Questions to ask yourself:

1. Is your seat perched right on top of the frame?

2. Do you have to tip your bike horizontally to touch the ground?

3. Do you stretch out like Superman to reach your handlebars?

4. Are you 5’4″ and riding a 56cm?

4. Do you find yourself walking your bike more than riding it?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I have news for you…


So trade it in. Put it on Craigslist with the other 61cm frames and find one that fits. If you’re riding a fixie, know that it should be smaller than your road bike. I am 5’11” and my fixie is a 56cm- it’s compact, it’s agile, and best of all, I don’t hit my lady parts on the top-tube.

An easy way to measure: Take your height minus 5 and get your bike. I’m 5’11” and I ride a 56. My partner is 5’9″ and rides a 54. It’s not an exact method, but it’s a rough rule of thumb.

Go get ’em tigers–weave that compact frame through the tourists’ Blazing Saddles. And when you get to a light, relish in firmly planting your feet on the ground with plenty of clearance between the cold steel of your top tube and your family jewels.


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San Francisco meet Sunday Streets CCA’s Fall Lecture Series (yay!)

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