This review was written by Adrian Croucher, Cycling Advocates Network’s Secretary who lives car-free in Auckland. It was originally published in Chainlinks 2010, Issue 1 April and reproduced here with permission.
A new breed of simple, stylish, practical city bike is making a comeback overseas and is starting to arrive here. These bikes are easy to ride and low-maintenance, harking back to the ones some of us grew up with, but with modern 8- or 9-speed hub gears and disc brakes, their performance is in a different league. And some are gorgeous, like the Civia Loring from the USA.
The Loring is designed for shorter trips around town (up to 10km), carrying up to 25kg spread between the rear pannier rack and the unique front rack, designed to take two shopping bags side by side. The bike has a very stable feel even while loaded, and the upright riding position encourages relaxed cruising.
The Loring comes with all mod cons (apart from dynamo lighting) including chainguard and kickstand, and a striking set of mudguards made of bamboo (the same material used for the rack decking). The subtly curved top tube adds a special something to the bike’s stunning good looks.
No, all this doesn’t come cheap. The 3-speed version is retailing here for $2,300, and the importer (Cycle Supplies) so far hasn’t brought in any 9-speeds- my local bike shop (Rode in Pt Chevalier) obligingly converted one to 9-speed for me, and the SRAM i-Motion 9 hub is a real pleasure to use. But for style and practicality the Loring is hard to fault. And riding a bike like this sends a clear advocacy message: cycling is more than just a sport. Everyday cycling is back, and beautiful.