I've mentioned before that I have a rather ugly old aluminum mountain bike. I can't really talk badly about it, since I rode it happily for years and took it to work, on the train or bus, to the store, on vacation, and everywhere else. It is a simple, sturdy bicycle.
But now that I have discovered the joys of the roadster bicycle, I just can't enjoy riding the mountain bike anymore. Ergonomically, it feels all wrong - the seat feels like it's too far forward, the frame seems short, and the steering and suspension feel totally different on that rigid aluminum. Plus it looks so...sporty. I hate riding it.
Yet, it can be so handy. It can fit in or on a car, unlike my 2 step-throughs. It can be used on more rugged terrain. Plus, I have been leaving it at a friend's house across town for unexpected excursions.
Finally, I realized that I need a new bicycle! Something different than my usual city bikes. Something I can make short trips around town on, then load onto a trunk-mounted rack to take on vacation to the mountains, beach, etc. or even something I can take vacations on (e.g. bicycle touring). Such a bicycle should be multi-terrain: a mountain bike. It should still be steel and look decent riding around town: an older mountain bike. It should be extra sturdy and able to carry gear: long chainstays and either a diamond-frame (a.k.a. "men's frame") or a mixte. It should be able to fit on a standard trunk-mounted rack: not a mixte. It should be super easy to repair, even on the road: standard parts and sizes. Of course, it should be good quality.
This led me to the inevitable Craigslist search. After sifting through the mess of poor quality mass-produced beaters, sloppy descriptions and bad photos, weird full-suspension mountain bikes, and back-of-the-garage vintage junkers, I've found a couple of contenders. And in the process, I have been drooling over the steady stream of pretty city step-through bicycles. Right now, there is an early-80s Takara in bright red, a sleek Panasonic, an assortment of old Schwinns, and several older Raleighs including a lovely Raleigh Sprite mixte. I can only hope that someone will take them home and love them.