25 July 2011

Pondering Marianela's Fate

I'm still debating what to do with Marianela.  I don't think selling her will bring enough money to make it worthwhile.  I suppose I still could donate her, which might be a halfway noble thing to do.  

But even that doesn't seem feasible, in a way. When I donated the Bridgestone Mountain Bike, at least it was a bike that its intended recipient--an immigrant who's working in construction, landscaping, restaurants or wherever else they need cheap labor--would be happy to get.  It's in a fairly common size, albeit a little bigger than the mountain bikes I used to ride.  And, not having suspension but having good, basic components, it makes a a good transport bike and is not overly complicated or esoteric.

However, mixte frames of any quality are hard to come by in Marianela's size.  My two Mercian mixtes are both custom frames--one (Helene) built for me and the other (Miss Mercian II) built for Pete, from whom I bought it.  Just as most clothing manufacturers still seem to think that women don't need inseams of more than 30 inches, bike makers seem to think either that there aren't any women over 5'6" or that those of us who are taller are just men with a couple of different parts.

So, the fact that it's a tall mixte is almost, by itself, reason to keep Marianela, even if Miss Mercian II becomes my commuter.  I could keep Marianela locked up outside, so the limited space in my apartment wouldn't be an issue.  And, as I mentioned earlier, I think that there will still be times when she'll come in handy.

If I keep her, though, I might get a pair of plastic fenders to replace the ones I took from her.  They wouldn't be as pretty as the fenders (Velo Orange Zeppelins) I had on the bike, but they might be more practical for a bike that's going to be parked on the streets and not well cared-for.  

I would definitely need to replace the seat, though.  Right now, she has the one that came with Miss Mercian II.  That seat is one I wouldn't ride in any case, and it's entirely unsuited for upright bars.  I suppose I could buy a Brooks B-67 or something similar for MMII and return the Gyes to Marianela.  But the Gyes is pretty well broken-in and I don't want to take the time to break in another saddle.  Besides, something cheap, and possibly made of synthetic materials, just might make more sense on a bike I'm going to leave on the streets.  


  1. May be keep that nice bike, don't sell it?

    Peace :)

  2. melissatheragamuffinJuly 26, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    Most helmet manufacturers also think women don't ever need large helmets. I just send an email to Bontrager complaining about this. I have pink accents on Miss Surly, and I wanted a pink helmet to go with it. But, I can't have one because I need a large. I am also 6'1" in my bare feet, so I know the aggrivation of trying to buy pants.

  3. Justine - I agree that it is a fairly rare bicycle and that donating it at random may not make the best use of it. You could host a give-away for a tall woman or even post a "free to a good home, bicycle for a tall woman" ad on C-List?

    Melissa - If it's a road helmet you're after, Lazer makes one for women in pink and white (this one) and the size seemed fairly large.

  4. I'm confused...doesn't a mixte have a split top-tube? Otherwise it's just a ladies'/compact frame.

    In other news, though, I think your trans-journey is really something, and I never would have stopped to think that maybe there are some people out there who are very tall and very much want a ladies' bike in a size that's not available. So keep on riding!

  5. Amy: The blogosphere has been bogged with, and forests have been cleared, for the debate over what constitutes a mixte and what constitutes a women's frame. The really traditional women's frame, as I always understood it, has a "top" tube that drops even further than the one on a mixte frame. It usually curves at some point near the bottom bracket. But a mixte doesn't drop as far and the tube is usually straight. As I said, that is my understanding, which is probably not definitive.

    Velouria: That's an interesting idea. I'm still deciding, though. In some ways, keeping it makes sense. But in another, it might be good for some tall woman who needs a transportation bike and doesn't have (or want to spend) much money--or for someone who's getting her first bike in twenty years.

  6. MelssatheRagamuffinJuly 28, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    I am 6'1" in my bare feet. I used to have a Trek 7000 WSD with a 19 inch frame. Ideally I'd like a 20 inch frame. When I sold the 7000 the woman who bought it from me was 6ft. I would have kept it, but I had some seriously bad mojo with that bike to the point where riding it could cause a panic attack.

    Sometimes I think I'd like another ladies bike, so I could actually use my back basket. Right now if I use my basket, I have to tip the bike so far over to mount it that stuff falls out of the basket.

  7. MelissatheRagamuffinJuly 28, 2011 at 5:56 AM

    Veloura thanks for the link. They have other pink helmets that specifically say that they're size large or XL. I really like one of the mountain bike ones. Though I really don't know the difference between a road helmet and a mountain bike helmet.

  8. Melissa: There really aren't any differences, other than style, between the helmets. Whatever kind of riding you do, you want a helmet that's ANSI or Snell-certified. (ANSI and Snell are independent testing agencies.) And you want it to fit. (One of the reasons I ride Giro and Bell is that their helmets seem to fit me better than other brands.) After that, you're paying for lighter weight--which can make a difference if you ride for more than about two hours--ventilation and styling.

    Now to my bike: Where are you? If you're in the NYC area, you take it. Or, if you want me to ship it to you, I'd just ask for you to pay for that.

    Amy: It has been an interesting journey. Thanks for your good wishes.

    Velouria: As always, you're helpful. Thanks for the info you gave Melissa.

  9. MelissatheRagamuffinJuly 28, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    I'm sorry to say I live in Virginia.