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Bike Fanatic: Karsten Choy

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Bike Fanatic: Karsten Choy

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Those wishing to explore the great outdoors may consider investing in a bicycle to be able to travel outside of town, but purchasing a bike from the store can be too expensive. For this reason, bike fanatics, such as junior Karsten Choy, choose to collect and assemble bike parts on their own. Building a bike is an uncommon, and tricky, hobby. Taking confidence, skill and time to master, bike-building can prove to be a challenge to anyone who decides to pick it up. For some people though, the love for cycling can prove to be worth it.

“I like to bike,” Choy said, “As of three weeks ago, I had not actually put a full bike together, but before, I was taking apart and swapping parts to assemble 75 percent of a bike.”

As an active member of the Tino Bike Club, Choy often attends the club’s long, 20-mile-or-more rides for enjoyment and as a way to hang out with friends. These long rides often put strain on the various parts of a bike, so it is important for builders to select good parts, but at a low cost. However, there are greater values in building a bike beyond saving money.

Said Choy, “Of course, economically, building your bike is better than buying it from the store since when you buy parts you can find them at their lowest rates. But, when you actually put the parts together, you can learn how they work together and fit in so that when anything breaks, you know how to fix it and you save money by not having to take your bike into the bike shop for repairs.”

A long process of amassing parts to assemble them follows the initial motivations of saving money and learning about the functions of each part. This includes the time aspect of building a bike, as online research must be conducted to ensure the builder is getting the correct parts for the type of bike they want to create.

Said Choy, “First you have to know how much you want to spend and then what kind of bike you want to build based on the type of cycling you are going to do. From there you can order the correct type of parts, how you want it to look like with different colors and paint jobs, the type of handlebars or seats or framework and all of the logistical things you might not think about.

Cycling is a broad term for the various types of locations, exercise and amount time the exercise is being performed for. There are three main types of bicycles: road, mountain and hybrid. Three key factors that differentiate the three cycle types from each other are the width of of the tires and position of the seat. Road bikes will have thinner and slicker tires as their main focus is speed. For this reason, the seat is positioned above the handlebars to reduce the frame of the rider. In contrast, mountain bikes will have tread on their tires for grip off-road, and the handlebars higher so the seat can positioned for comfort while climbing hills. The “middle ground” of bikes is the hybrid bike. Although the handle bars are high to mimic a mountain bike, the tires are thin but have tread so the bike can do a little bit of everything.

“Keep in mind that you have to be aware of how much it costs” said Choy. Building a bike is truly a hobby that requires skill, time, money and patience. There must be a sense of dedication or love for such an activity, but, for Karsten, the outdoors is just enough.

About the Writer
Brandon Hong, Photo Assistant

Brandon is a Junior at Cupertino High School and photo assistant for The Prospector. He loves playing videos games, riding his bike, and listening to 80’s...

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