Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: But did you name it?

Adult and child’s bike on grass
Spring bike rides with Miata and the mini-me’s bike yet to be named (photos by Becky Jo)

When I started this car-free adventure at the beginning of winter, I thought for sure my bike was not going to cut it. I thought it was a matter of time when I’d have to admit my little road bike just wasn’t the right bike for hauling groceries or getting me around town. I was 99% convinced I’d have to trade it in when I first started my daughter behind me on her little tag-a-long, and her lack of experience balancing nearly caused us a few bike dumps.

I had been looking up more “upright” and heavier/sturdier bikes, what I came to find out are called “mixte” bikes, when to my surprise, we all adapted rather quickly. My daughter started riding on her own, I got into a cadence with groceries, and I do really love having a super light and maneuverable bike when I want to go from North Portland to Montavilla.

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Sure, when we are experiencing more fiscal liquidity as a family, I’d like to add on an electric cargo bike for some more ambitious hauling and to reduce use of delivery and car rentals even more, but until then I’m quite happy. I was even at my local bike shop in Kenton when the owner showed me some new bikes I admitted the disc brakes are very tempting, but I said without even thinking, “But I love my little Miata.”

My bike is totally a “Miata.” Mass produced, from REI, not expensive, nothing particularly exciting, so very basic in every sense of the word… a total Miata.

I need to know. Did you name it? I haven’t named my trusty sewing machines, but I did name one of my dress forms: Jolene. Have you named your bikes? I’m seriously dying to know. Bonus points for photos or links to Instagram photos! Let’s have a fun day together, bonding over our inanimate loves. We need it.

As always, thank you so much for hanging out with me here.

— Becky Jo, @BeckyJoPDX
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dan
dan
2 years ago

You have to name your bike! Mine is called the Yellow Peril (edgy!).

It looks like this (this is not mine though): https://www.pinkbike.com/photo/15338304/

Alan 1.0
2 years ago

‘Scuse me for nerding out, but “mixte” frames aren’t necessarily heavier or sturdier than typical “diamond” frames. Mixtes simply run the top tube(s) diagonally from the head tube all the way to the rear drop-outs, rather than to the seat tube. They may have upright or drop handlebars. Heaviness (weight) and sturdiness (load capacity) are more related to frame materials and thicknesses, and cargo-focused frames have geometry (frame angles) more suited to slower speeds, slower turning, and heavier loads. Here’s some more frame nerd stuff: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_frame

Suburban
Suburban
2 years ago

At first I thought I was reading “Miyata”. (As in the long established manufacturer of fine bicycles, motor cycles and fire extinguishers)
But Miata is a cheery name for a machine! Did you end up getting any Mixte bikes after all?

dan
dan
2 years ago

Also, I think you’re selling Miatas short! I know that car enthusiasts love them because they’re inexpensive, fun, and free of bloat – one of the few car models that loses weight from generation to generation rather than getting bigger / heavier. Maybe that applies to your bike too!

D2
D2
2 years ago
Reply to  dan

Heck, in terms of cars I wish some manufacturer would bring hyper simple back. Something that commutes a little bit and carries sporting goods, but is still cheap as even when I have a car I don’t use it much.

rainbike
rainbike
2 years ago

My 1987 Cannondale SR600 is “Blueberry”. Page 11 of https://vintagecannondale.com/year/1987/1987.pdf

Jason
Jason
2 years ago

My surly straggler in stock glittered purple is “Pony Monster”, or “Purple Pony Monster” in formal settings. Subtle nod to an epic local band. And just an awesome fun bike.

Jason
Jason
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason

Haha, yeah I’d imagine safe search would be required. I’m impressed you tried searching!

Dr. Theopolis. They’re not a well known band, just one of my favorites because their shows were always crazy fun. Pretty much only played local, but had a great funk/rap sound and did not take themselves seriously.

Pony Monster was a short line on one of their CDs that my friends and I use a lot. Seemed fitting for a bike!

Alan Love
Alan Love
2 years ago

My gravelle/bikepacking/apocalypse bike is Kong Fu Barney, a purple Surly Karate Monkey. Kong (large ape – monkey-like) Fu (for the karate) Barney (purple, obvs). The headtube badge has been replaced with a pic of a guy in a Barney the Dinosaur suit slumped over on the ground in an alley surrounded by empty booze bottles.

joan
2 years ago

I love my mixte! It’s a fantastic commuting (back when we did that, ha ha) and town bike. I think officially a mixte has split twin stays and is more than just a step-through. My mixte (an old steel Raleigh from the 70s) came with its original drop bar. But, also, some folks do seem to use the term to refer to a more upright bike with a lower top tube.

joan
2 years ago

I’m not sure I’m using the vocabulary correctly either! A mixte is a type of step-through bike. The blue Peugeot here is what I think of a classic mixte: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Step-through_frame#Mixte

So they aren’t necessarily upright, as you can see from the drop bars. But, yes, often step-through bikes are more upright. And they’re great if you’re wearing a skirt or dress. They tend to be marketed more towards women.

I think of upright bikes being more like Dutchies, the kind of bikes folk ride for everyday in the Netherlands. They aren’t gendered, as men and women typically ride this style of bike. Here’s the kind of thing I mean: http://www.dutchie.co.uk/en-GB

There are also beach cruisers, which are often one-speed or three-speed bikes with big swooping handlebars, fatter tires, and coaster brakes. Those are the inexpensive bikes you might see for rent at the beach or in small resort towns.

It gets confusing because some of these words get used in different ways. My frame is a mixte, and I call my bike a mixte, but I also call it a city bike. Clear as mud, right?

Jason
Jason
2 years ago

Nah, it’s not really my thing. It might be a byproduct of burning through a handful of Nishiki mountain bikes when I was in high school. I like to think I’m the reason that modern bikes have strong rear dropouts. That’s pretty egotistical, but I could dependably break a frame at the rear dropout. I also learned a lot about frame warranties.

Jason
Jason
2 years ago

Haha, yeah I can relate. Growing up, we had a watch drawer. If you can imagine, a drawer of broken watches; both analogue and digital. I took great delight in taking them apart. Although, I contributed little to their functional recovery. They were as useless after my touch as before.

I suppose another aspect lending to my reticence for naming my bikes is the inevitable emotions that come with sentience. I haven’t always had more than one bike. But I can see how Fred would get jelous of Caleb, if I rode Caleb more than Fred. We’re I to entertain the notion, that is.

Ryan
Ryan
2 years ago

My stable consists of:
‘Lambeau’ – ’97 Trek 820 MTB. It’s gold and green and from Wisconsin, why wouldn’t I name it after the Packers’ franchise icon and stadium namesake?!

‘Enrico Lorenzo’ – 1977(?) Pinarello – Enrico after the famous Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, Lonrenzo…just because.

‘Casper’ – 2013 Raleigh RX1 CX bike – it’s white and friendly, just like the famous ghost.

‘Galice’ – 2015 Asylum Meuse CX bike with the Rogue Team decals. Named after the lodge and launch ramp on the Rogue River.

‘The Widowmaker’ – 2018 Specialized Chisel MTB. Named, with affection, by my wife.

Chainstays
Chainstays
2 years ago

Becky Jo, for many years and many bikes I resisted the slight temptation to name any bike. I don’t have a name for my vacuum cleaner (shout out to Mikael Colville-Andersen). But I recently built up a Velo Orange Polyvalent and after the first ride had to name it…Smooth Criminal (if you have a gmail account you can check it here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Jf6J6qF9TjUMsZdm8).

So, I guess all that to say, whatever suits you!

fourknees
fourknees
2 years ago

I like hearing everyone’s bike names. Mine:

‘Red Hot Chili Pepper” – my folding bike

‘Big Blue II’ – Electra Townie with Blue frame with yellow fenders. I”m not even a UofM fan. BB1 was retired.

Haven’t named my other bike yet, should come to me soon though now that we’re over 3000mi together. Nothing has quite stuck yet.

Tony Rebensdorf
Tony Rebensdorf
2 years ago

Love this!
Big grey step-through Vanmoof with an(aftermarket) mid-drive: Captain Janeway; or Kathryn.
Ladies Roadster Flying Pigeon: Nai Nai (mandarin for Grandmother)
’78 orange Japanese-made Schwinn Letour: Tang
1950 Raleigh Sports: Giles
Black Vanmoof T-series: Bobby

Every bike has its own special character, and takes you places no other bike would. That alone is reason to name them.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

I am loving on these names. So much fun. Thanks for sharing. I am such a dud because I don’t name my bikes. Maybe I will come up with something now though with all this inspiration.

Also, I’d love to see photos to go along with these names… And guess what? Our new (not really fully launched) Forums make it super easy to share pictures! Grab a log-in name if you’d like. First person in can create the topic and ask for the names … http://forums.bikeportland.org

Cameron Booth
Cameron Booth
2 years ago

My road bike is bright orange, so it’s “The Clockwork Orange”. The blue commute bike doesn’t have a name, poor thing.

riversiderider
riversiderider
2 years ago

I name all my bikes but the best is my Soma Double Cross due to how the name was acquired.

Years ago when I had just purchased it my 4 yr old granddaughter asked me what it’s name was. I told her I hadn’t named it yet to which she replied, “What’s your favorite color? , I said “Brown” she then said, “What’s your favorite animal?”, I said “A dog”. She smiled and said “Popon your bike’s name is Brown Dog” which was perfect as it’s also the name of a favorite character of mine in several books by Jim Harrison.

Ally
Ally
2 years ago

I tend to stick to strong women in mythology so my trusty commuter is Artemis (Greek) and my road bike is Sigyn (Norse)