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Performance Bicycles: What Is Performance?

Aug 17, 2007
In order to talk about performance bicycles, we should start by defining the term. We all know what bicycle signifies, but what about performance? I think that many people tend to define the word performance as the ability to offer top operation, meaning top speeds, top maneuverability, and clockwork smooth mechanical functioning.

While all of those minor definitions certainly relate to an overall concept of performance, I would like to offer another perspective of performance as related to bicycles. Though we all want to be the next Lance Armstrong, our own best personal performance does not have to reflect world's records for speed or distance.

In my opinion, for the non-professional bicycle rider, even the more serious bicycle rider, performance should really be an issue of finding the bike that best fits your lifestyle. This is going to include things other than top, high speed racing performance.

The best bicycle for the more common user has many non-race related factors to take under consideration. How much can I spend on a bike? I have to carry my bike upstairs, will the bike be heavy to lift? There are many practical concerns that may end up making more of a difference than trimming a couple seconds of your mile.

One thing to consider is where you will be storing your bicycle, and where it will be kept when you ride it to various destinations. You may not want to have a flashy top of the line bike in particular parts of town anyway.

And if you want to get into the topic of non-flashy bicycles, boy, could I talk your ear off. There are so many amazing things about recycling old bikes [recycled bicycles] into fabulously functional and affordable new bikes!

I remember when I was young, after a short period of ownership, dismantling and customizing my very fancy red and chromed Columbia touring bicycle that I had received one Christmas. The first items removed were the fancy chromed fenders and tail extension and of course the chrome chain guard.

I was not the only one of my friends who did this, risking the wrath of parents wondering why we took such expensive and fancy looking bikes and tore them down. I remember the Wynn brothers. They made chopper bicycles by mounting the front wheel fork and tube upside down in the bicycle frame giving the bike that motorcycle chopper look. This was our definition of a performance bicycle.

The Wynn brothers had a collection of used bicycles and bicycle parts that amazed me. What they did with those parts was even more amazing.

Sustain ability is the way to go. Every time we're able to use what already exists we're giving someone a new bike that may not be able to afford one otherwise. Or perhaps we're merely saving a spot in a landfill where stuff he haven't figured out how to recycle can go.

Consider all your concerns and interests surrounding the type of bike that will best fit into your lifestyle and your community. You may learn something about yourself and the other people like you living just next door.
About the Author
Bill Wallmuller aka Mr. Merokee is the founder of Merokee Enterprises and has developed helpful Web site guides with resources in various topical areas. One is the: Bicycle Resource Guide
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