Back?Another tractor...

Location: Kosovo

I bought a bike. I carted my helmet and accessories from Jakarta where I never bought a bike...too wet and too much traffic to ride.

Like most places, I'll stick to riding in the wee hours of the morning. Itís safer that way. The next morning after I assembled the Schwinn, I awoke at 0300 and elected to take the new bike out for a ride to weed out the kinks. Other than an occasional ride when I go home twice yearly, I havenít steadily ridden a bike since 2012. My first ride went about four miles. I have headlights and taillights to remain visible. I set the lights to strobe to be seen. The police had a roadblock not far from my apartment at 0300 but they let me pass without stopping me. The security guard at our compound followed me as I rolled into the elevator. I just waved and kept going.

I have issues with bikes with kickstands and this one has a kickstand. On Facebook, I posted a photo and called it a tractor. Weighing it at forty pounds, it's a tractor but it was made for night.

Unfortunately, the bicycles sold in Kosovo are highly overpriced. I tried several local businesses to find bicycles. I found a couple of bike shops on FB. I went so far as to look for one of those FB finds but gave up. What I did find was overpriced. The stuff in the stores, when marked down 40% was reasonable for a low-end bike. The higher priced bikes should have been priced the same as the low end bikes. They looked good but they werenít good. I considered other options such as buying one through the web and shipping it here or shipping one of my bikes from home. I settled for the Schwinn. If I leave it for my next destination, some time off in the future, I wonít be out much money.

Bike buying tip...the lighter the bike, the higher the cost. Conversely, the heavier the bike, the lower the cost.

I hadnít ridden a Schwinn since I was a senior in high school oh so many years ago.

It's not fast but it looks pretty cool. If you look closely, the accessories are from this bike.

Not shown in the picture is the air horn I bought years ago. I needed a screw I needed to attach the air horn. I bought my horn in the early stages and it looks like a Coke bottle with a red jacket connected to the horn with a piece of plastic tubing. I havenít used the horn much when riding at night. I'm becoming somewhat of a celebrity with my light/reflector setup. I bought the headlight before I went to China in 2011 and haven't used it between China and Kosovo. Motorists have pulled up beside me and cheered me on at 0400 in the blessed AM. One took a photo from his smart phone. Oncoming cars do flash their lights. One police officer asked me what it was and if I could back off on the intensity. I have it set to day mode which sets off an unreal strobe light that's VERY bright. I asked him to speak English which he did. I answered the first question which brought an "OK" and he didn't wait around for the second answer.

I could turn off the strobe but it helps me be seen and the strobe mode helps the battery last seemingly for forever. Now, the technology is quite dated as there are better systems that burn less battery while putting out a much brighter light out there for comparable money but I will say it's BRIGHT! One of the guys from the office said I pulled up behind him in his car while bicycling and he was nearly blinded by it. I have no idea what he was doing out at that hour.

I started buying bike lights over twenty years ago. I feel safer riding at night when the streets are deserted. I still have to be seen. I have a tail light which I set to strobe, reflective pant clips, reflective jogger belt which I drape across my upper body, and the standard reflectors at the pedals, wheels, handlebars, and saddle post. When I was in China, I bought a pair of LED valve cap LED light strobes as well. They donít do much but they look cool. Suffice to say, you can see me coming and going.

Back to Lou's Homepage