After spotting a few super sweet bikes around town lately, I've decided to start a new segment called Grit City Rides. These will be bikes that I feel are out there pushing the envelope of urban mobility in Tacoma, those that are not your everyday mountain-bike-turned-commuter rig. I'm limited to what I see on my usual routes, but hopefully it will be a representative sample of a greater trend towards utility cycling in T-Town. Here are the two stand-outs from last week:
photo by Velorbis
What: Velorbis Scrap Deluxe
Where: Being ridden at N 15th and Junette
When: a Wednesday evening
Why: Fat Frank balloon tires for our pot-holed streets, dynamo lights for visibility, full chain case to keep the grit out, and enough bling power to make you leave a Lexus at home. The one I spotted was sporting some yellow Ortlieb panniers on the rack, which are perfect for all four of our damp seasons. Europeans have been riding bikes like this for a century and doing it with style, too.
photo by Ultra Motor
What: Ultra Motor A2B
Where: Being ridden at N 'K' Street and N 11th
When: a hot weekday afternoon
Why: This is a hybrid electric bicycle, which works great for Tacoma's hilly terrain. I watched this guy climb up one block, then turn and climb another while keeping an easy cadence and looking cool at the same time. Full suspension and 3" wide tires make for a comfy ride, too. This was about the third or fourth hybrid electric bicycle that I'd seen in town, but this one is my favorite. I learned about it at an eco fair in SLC, one of the bike-friendliest cities in the country.