Meet the Saracen

The lovely Saracen

By Daniel Thornton

Hi, I’m Johanna and welcome to my brand new blog.  My friends call me Jo and you can read a bit more about me here.

This space is for all things bikeable. I’m not a cyclist and in no way does my cycling kit match.  However, I do cycle everywhere. I like talking to people about their adventures on their bike.  I appreciate sharing clever cycling tips on surviving the cold wet winters.  I could spend hours watching the cyclists of Edinburgh whizz by and I”m overwhelmed with admiration when folks pull off style and function on two wheels.

While I’m in no way a professional on a bike, I have learned a lot since taking up cycling in Edinburgh a couple years back.

The most important part of your bikeable style (or a blog on bikeable style for that matter) is a loved bike.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or brand new or top of the line – but you do have to care a great deal about it. It seems sentimental value is very fashionable on the streets these days.

I met my bike last year at Soul Cycles by surprise.  It was love at first sight – and after a short test drive, I had to have her.  A British-made Saracen from the late 80s, I’m told her former owner was cyclist from the British National Team in the 60s.  It was the last bike she ever rode.  I scrambled for £150 and then she was mine.

When I first got her, I didn’t know much about bikes.  I had borrowed friends’ bikes before and never really felt a great deal of ownership over them.  But I needed to give her a good home. Since then, I’ve learned how to take care of her, fix her tires, clean her parts. I get nervous when things just don’t feel right  and am relieved when it’s something small.  I miss her when I’m away on holiday and don’t ride for a few weeks.

I have only fallen off her once, but she has been very good to me. From the long ride home after a break up to the cycle to work while preparing for a presentation – and not to mention countless renditions of the Eagles’ ‘Take it Easy’ on the late night trips home –  she’s seen me through some pretty exciting moments of my life. And she brought me here – so I owe this cookie a lot.

So I look forward to seeing where the Saracen and Bikeable Jo will take me next…

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5 thoughts on “Meet the Saracen

  1. Hey Jo, really loving this space! :) very well done. A quick question – when you got your bike, were you in the market for one? did you know anything about them? I always feel like i would be interested in getting a bike, but don’t know much about the space in between the one for $5 with rust all over it, and the one for $1222893 that I can’t afford… thoughts?

    • Hi Jesse, thanks for this. I’m really loving the blog these days!

      To be honest, I didn’t know much when I first got a bike. I had gone with a friend to a used-bike shop and was lucky enough to find a good one. I wasn’t prepared to spend more than £150 and I feel I got a good deal – you don’t need to spend thousands to be satisfied, that’s for sure. Don’t feel daunted if you don’t know much about bikes – that shouldn’t stop you. You learn a lot by doing it (and not getting it right and trying again). I popped countless tires before I actually fixed a flat properly.

      A couple tips –
      - Know how you will use your bike – commuting, every now again, big cycle trips, off road, etc. This will depend on what kind of bike you will get.
      - Find a knowledgeable pal – I would bring a buddy with me who knew the right questions to ask and I found this very helpful. I also took lots of notes and photos and forwarded them along to my Dad and brother for their input on any bikes I was interested in.
      - Do your research online – there are loads of great bike blogs that offer great advice!
      - Find a bike shop that gives you good vibes – the guys at Soul Cycles where I got my bike were very helpful and I trusted them. Used bike shops are great places to find hidden gems (be careful of stolen bikes, though) and you can often get a 3-month warranty. If you get a bad feeling about a place or a seller, move along!
      - TEST RIDE! While it was love at first site with the Saracen, I was sold on her after a short test ride. Don’t be afraid to take a short jaunt around the block.

      I’m happy to talk through your ideas with you if you want to drop me an email – feel free to share photos and details of bikes you are interested in. I look forward to hearing about your upcoming cycling adventures (I sense a guest blog coming on….)!

      x Jo

  2. Pingback: Cycling should be included in the National Curriculum | Sykose

  3. Pingback: Spotted – The Saracen heads off road | Bikeable Jo

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