Jenny on the Priority Classic: Changing the Way You Think About Cycling

I’ve just ordered a Priority Eight, a new eight-speed model with belt-drive from Priority Bicycles. Ordering the Eight got me to thinking about the Priority Classic that I had gifted to my daughter back in Fall 2014. While I wait eagerly the arrival of my new bike, I thought I’d interview my daughter about her experience with hers.

Jenny, you’ve had your Priority Classic for going on your second season now. How are you liking it, and what would you say to someone who is considering one?

I would absolutely recommend the bike. I’ve really been enjoying riding it this past summer. 

Your previous bike was a 24-inch-wheel full-suspension bike from Walmart, right? How did that compare? What did you notice in the transition from that Walmart bike to your new one from Priority Bicycles? 

The difference was night and day. I hated biking. It was something I had to do because I don’t own a car. I would bike the mile and a half to the grocery store and back, and would think to myself that “I hate this! I am either really pathetic, or out of shape, or something…” Sometimes I would have to get off and walk the bike, because it was just too difficult to pedal it. 

And of course when you’re doing something you hate, it’s really hard to convince yourself to want to practice and get better at it. So I thought that part of the problem was that I was just lazy. 

But what about the Classic?

Then I got the Priority Classic. I didn’t ride it at all at first, but one day my friend asked that I bike to his house for X-Files night, because his car was having trouble. So I dragged out the Priority Classic for the first time, and this new bike bike was REALLY light. I wasn’t having to pedal as much. I could pedal for a while and then let the bike coast. My old Walmart bike didn’t coast very well at all. Er, at all, actually. 

I did not even need to walk my bike up the hill. It was very surprising, because with the Walmart bike, not only would I need to walk my bike up all hills, but I also had to get off and walk it sometimes because I was just so tired. The old bike was also hard to push. I felt like I was carrying around an extra hundred pounds, and I thought, “man, people do this for fun?”

As I dismounted in my friend’s apartment parking lot where he was waiting with a bike lock, I turned to him and said, “Huh. that was actually kind of fun.” 

Priority Classic Step-through -- The bike that is "actually kind of fun"

I know the Priority Classic was delivered in a big box left sitting on your doorstep. Were you intimidated by that? 

I wasn’t terribly intimidated by the size. I was expecting the box to be quite large. I did however, have to rescue it from my landlady who thought it was her big screen TV even though there was a great big bicycle on the outside of the box. 

What was your experience in getting the bike put together?

I didn’t even try to put it together by myself, to be honest. I have exactly zero experience in this sort of thing, so I called my friend and he came over to help. He had no trouble putting together all of the important parts. He said it was really easy and the instructions were clear. 

How often do you typically ride the bike?

I ride more often in summer and fall than in winter and spring. During summer I would say I was riding at least once a week, maybe twice. I either bike to my friend’s house (about 3.5 miles each way, give or take), or he’ll swing by my place and we’ll go on a bike ride together. 

What would you guess has been your longest ride so far? 

The short answer: about ten miles. 

Have you ever seen football game traffic in Ann Arbor? So has my boss. I currently work for a company that does delivery. Football games are some of our busiest days, but they’re also the days we have trouble getting food out, because of all the traffic. 

So one day when there was a game, instead of taking the bus to work like normal, I biked the ten miles from home to my job. That was a rewarding experience. All the game traffic was gridlocked, and I’m going by and squeezing between the cars and having no stress at all.

That same day, I also delivered food on my bike. I was the only delivery person that day who was able to consistently get anywhere on time. This is important, because customers get really upset when you’re late, and make angry phone calls to corporate, who doesn’t always understand football game traffic. 

Jenny riding her Priority Classic -- a bike she says "changed the way I think about biking"

Jenny riding her Priority Classic -- a bike she says "changed the way I think about biking"

Is there anything you haven’t liked about the bike?

The back brakes were something I definitely had to get used to. I actually fell off the bike the first few times I rode it, because I usually squeeze the hand brake when I come to a stop at intersections, and rest the tips of my toes on the ground. I forgot that I didn’t have a handbrake on the new bike and went sprawling instead. Thank goodness I wear helmets. 

You’re a bit on the short side, and these bikes have 700c road tires. Does the bike feel like it’s a good fit? Do you ever find yourself wishing for smaller-diameter wheels?

For those who don’t know, I’m 4’11. So, by “on the small size,” what you really mean is “about the size of your average 12 year old.”

Right. I had forgotten just how short. Has that been a problem?

I won’t lie, the size has been a bit of a struggle at first. I still sometimes wonder if the bike is too tall for me. The workaround my friend has come up with is to take off the rear reflector, which was below the seat at first, and to put the reflector on top of the bike seat post instead of underneath it, which allowed us to lower the seat more. 

Thank you Jenny. As a last question, do you have any plans for your riding for this upcoming season? Are there any last thoughts about the bike you’d like to leave us with? 

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time, but I’m finally going to get around to asking my boss if I can bike drive during the spring and summer to deliver food. That way I can get out and bike more, because it’ll be my job. 

Overall riding the bike has been a really enjoyable experience, and has definitely changed the way I think about biking. I’m still not as into biking as some people are, but I understand now where these people are coming from. Biking is still something I do largely out of necessity. However, it has gone from Worst Thing Ever(™) to “I think I’m going to enjoy biking today instead of taking the bus.”