It’s official, the best way to make new friends is by riding a bike.
It seems like everyone we come across wants to know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We have already met so many friendly people, and we’re only a week in! People are super keen on giving us directions, cheering us on, and helping us find the cheapest places to stay.
We met this jovial restaurateur in Lompoc, CA. He made us feel really special because he was so interested in our story!
We’ve been riding up the California coast for about a week and lovin’ it. We’ve started slow, because after all, once this trip is over we have to be responsible adults again, so what’s the hurry?
We are going to try to post as often as possible, so keep up with us on the road!
I ride everywhere. I love my bike. Every bike I have ever had becomes a friend. When Mallory and I arrived in Taiwan we obviously needed to buy new bikes. Giant is a Taiwanese company, so you can buy a decent Giant for a good price and there are Giant stores abound, although we decided to go with one of the many smaller bike shops. Though these shops are relatively common it is near impossible to find a Google map showing all the shops near you, Taiwanese businesses aren’t so hep to Google. It’s really a matter of stumbling upon them and we were able to find several close to our place.
The thing I really love about the smaller shops is haggling. I found a crummy Giant 2400. I got the price down to NT$1000 (about US$30). It was going to need some work that added another NT $1000.
I am not super keen on mountain bikes so I was set on changing it into more of a cruiser, mountain cross. I also like to personalize my rides, so I stripped decals and buffed the paint. I put some green candy stripes, a bunch of stars and a couple lightning bolts.
When I went to another shop I found some little kid BMX bars and a bunch of cool accessories, including some mirrors and an umbrella mount. When I asked the price the guy asked if I was planning on putting those parts on the bike I rode up on. I was, so I said “Dui” (yes)(对). At that point he told me that those things weren’t for sale. For some reason he was strongly opposed to me “freakin out” MY bike. I figured the easiest thing for both of us was to lie. I explained that I misunderstood and that I’d never dream of putting ill matched on my pristine Giant 2400. This satisfied him and I was on my way with some new stuff to trick out my bike.
Slowly but surely my bike was coming together, though I still had a few speed bumps along the way. When I installed the new bars the brake cables were too short. Instead of fixing them right away I just jerry rigged the cable and pulled on them to stop. Worked like a charm. After a while I did fix that little issue though. Other fixes included new brake pads, patching old tubes, oiling the chain, all the stuff you need to do for any bike.
Now everywhere I go I get the weirdest looks, I don’t even think my bike is that crazy. People will stop at lights and ask me “why is your bike like that?” or tell me “WOW, so crazy.” I like to think that it’s a compliment.