We’re a shop dedicated to bikes with an upright riding position (see our Flying Pigeon, Nihola, Batavus, Gazelle, Achielle and other bikes for examples). However, if you’re looking to lean over when you ride (a bit more efficient aerodynamically), we do stock a couple of quick-riding city bikes at Flying Pigeon LA.
Late last year, we started carrying the Torker U-District. The U-district is a no-nonsense, affordable, smooth-riding steel bike made to handle the day-to-day reality of commuting on a bike. The bike raised eyebrows in the shop because as soon as we put one up in the window, it was bought and sold in a day or so. We knew this was a solid bike, with a good component setup for a $349 price tag – but the response we got from the young guys and gals picking this bike up has been amazing.
Wild eyed, with big smiles on their faces, they all seem to drop back into the shop to get some air pumped into their tires. It always feels more like a chance for them to brag about how far and how fast they ride their U-District around town.
Just about the same time we started selling U-Districts like hot cakes, BICYCLING Magazine’s October 2009 issue, on page 70, listed the U-District as their “editors pick” for low-cost Student/Commuter bikes. They called the affordable U-District “a trustworthy commuter that requires minimal maintenance.”
We can customize the Torker U-District in lots of practical ways: with colorful tire, saddle, and grip combinations for just $20 over retail; we can also install SKS Commuter fenders and an XLC Headlight/Taillight kit for $50 above retail.
Visiting Interbike this past fall in Las Vegas, there was a lot of stuff that we knew we’d never stock at our shop. Most of the stuff we saw at the show was the sort of high priced, disposable, one-trick pony, carbon fiber, bike gear that only recreational or sports bike riders are interested in. There is nothing wrong with this stuff, it just has never been what our shop is about.
Then, we saw the Torker Gradaute. By the time Interbike started we’d been doing a brisk business with the U-District but had missed a few sales to people that lived in hilly parts of L.A. or need to go through hilly areas and didn’t see it happening on a single-speed bike (no matter how affordable and solid that bike was). The Graduate is the machine these folks were looking for – it is low-maintenance and durable like the U-District, but it has 5 gears and is equipped with drum brakes (like on a motorcycle) both front and rear. The Graduate also comes standard with a solid set of fenders (perfect for this time of year), and 32mm wide Tioga tires which provide a little bit more cushion as well as traction on loose or sandy pavement.
The Graduate is like the U-district, but all grown up with multiple speeds and brakes that work well in dry or wet weather. The Graduate is marked up $150 more than the U-district, but the increase in price is well earned. One of my favorite things to show people is the sidekick a drum brake can take and still maintain its function. Try that with your high-end hydraulic disc brakes! If you’ve every slammed your bike onto a bus rack in a rush (and brought it down with a thump when your bus ride was over), nonchalantly clanged it into the rack on the back of a car, or had your bike fall to the ground when leaned against something you know how annoying it is to check on your ride to see if, golly, is everything okay? Then find out that, no, everything is not okay. “That’ll be $60 to fix,” says the local bike mechanic. Not with the Graduate!
The Graduate is designed to take that worry away. A solid steel frame, with better components than other bikes in this price range, the bike is made to handle the abuse of day-to-day solo riding. It comes ready for thorns, and rain, and dust. It also comes ready for those quiet night-time descents down the back of a Los Angeles hill – city lights twinkling, honeyed scented flowers in the late evening bloom, down to the shop to pick up some milk and eggs. The Graduate is ready for the gradual trip back up the hill, clicking into the easy gear and staying seated the whole way up the hill back, home at last.
Come on down and give these bikes a ride – they are available in small sizes (44cm) for you under 5-footers out there, all the way up to big sizes (56cm) for the 6′ plus folks roaming around looking for a trusty two-wheeled steed. The Graduate retails for $499.
Flying Pigeon LA is located at 3404 N. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles, CA 90065. We’re usually open Wednesday to Friday from 12 noon to 8 pm (or later) and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Our phone number is 213-909-8986 and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org We have acquired a fully complement of both the Graduate and the U-district – but if you’re worried about what sizes we have in stock, give us a call before driving 40 miles to see us!