Have you ever had one of those bikes that, for unexpected and not-so-obvious reasons, gets ridden more than your other bikes? You know, a bike you bought for a specific purpose—like hauling cargo or locking up outside at work—that ends up being your go-to bike for other types of riding as well? I bought one of those bikes recently.
Back in December of last year, I purchased a Civia Loring from Gold Country Cyclery. My plan was to use it as a dedicated cargo hauler for those times when a pair of panniers on a rear rack was not enough capacity. While the Loring has certainly proved to be capable in this regard, much to my surprise, it’s turning out to be the bike I most often grab for all sorts of casual excursions around town. It’s a fun and easy bike that works exceptionally well for stop-and-go riding in the city or suburbs. In fact, the Loring has become my number one coffee run, grocery getting, errand bike.
So, what does it have going for it?
- It looks great. You gotta’ love the bamboo appointments contrasted against the black components and day-glo green paint.
- It’s comfy. The large frame fits me like a glove. The bars are set at my ideal 1-2cm above the saddle, and the forward extension is just about perfect. Plus, it comes stock with my favorite Brooks B67 saddle.
- It’s easy. A step-thru frame is a real advantage when a bike is loaded up front and back; it’s so nice to just step through the frame instead of swinging a leg over a pair of over-bloated panniers.
- The components are spot-on. The SRAM i-Motion 9 internal gear hub is becoming one of my favorites. The gear ratios are evenly spaced and the shifting is effortless (now, if SRAM would only make something other than a twist shifter for this hub, I’d be in heaven). The Avid BB discs are powerful, quiet, and provide excellent modulation.
- It can really haul. The Loring can take 20 lbs. up front and a least 50 in back. The front rack is the highlight of the bike with its removable side rails, integrated U-lock holder, and under-rack light mount. In combination with the self-centering spring and double-legged kickstand, the Loring’s front rack makes quick trips to the grocery store a breeze.
Obviously I’m quite smitten with this bike. I honestly can’t find much of anything I don’t like about it. It’s not fast, and it’s not light, but it provides a different kind of in-city performance for people who are using a bike as a car replacement. And as I intimated at the top of the post, somehow the overall package is greater than the sum of the parts, making for a bike that’s surprisingly enjoyable to hop on and ride around town for practically any purpose.
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