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Rider Review - She Devil City 16 - Sarah Wagner

She Devil 16, Sarah Wagner, Ontonagon, MI

This beautiful letter was written to us by Sarah after purchasing and riding her new She Devil for a few weeks. Her inspiring words paint a beautiful picture of riding a bike in the Spring time. Thanks Sarah!


About 3 years ago I got pretty serious about a new bike- Where I live bike shops are few and far between.  I spent a lot of time looking at bikes, and test riding bikes- none of the shops I visited had something I could be happy with. During that time I would visit the Handsome Bike website, I felt the She Devil was what I was looking for, but I worried about buying a bike without riding it first. I finally passed close enough by Minneapolis to swing in there and came home with a She Devil, bike of my dreams.


I’ve been riding a 1983 Schwinn World “10 speed” which has been my “go- to” bike all those years, about 10 to 15 miles per day, and yes I can’t put the odometer away and I usually make it to around a thousand miles a year.  I‘ve always loved to ride that road bike, my husband bought it for me shortly after we met that year- it was lightly used, we were young and neither of us had much money and he heard about it on the  local “Tradio”. It has always been too big for me and I can only ride it by resting the heel of my hand on the top of the short little drop bar…. A bit wobbly:  get on and off by leaning it way over….But I have always loved to ride that bike.  My husband rebuilt it for me once after I had it about 15 years….


I also have in the bike fleet a restored 1957 Schwinn ‘girls’ bike with coaster brakes, restored by a very good friend . If ever I have a bad day, I get on that 57 girls bike: I find myself riding down alleyways and zig zagging around parking lots- and I regain my perspective.


Over the years I would just occasionally look at new bikes in “mainstream” bike shops, nothing ever looked good to me or rode as nice as that ’83 Schwinn World, even with it being too big for me. I could never put my finger on just exactly why… Along the way I have learned a lot about different bikes and bike cultures but the new- fangled bikes just seemed all wrong for me.  I got more serious about a new bike because now that I am retired, I can stay out at the family ‘camp’ more often. In the summer I like to get going early and I really want a bike that can stay out at camp for the summer, and a bike which I can feel more confident riding the more dirt roads out there. The She Devil seems like it was just made to for this bike niche in my life. I can continue to get those longer 10 to 15 mile rides without sacrificing my camp time, or risking a fall.


I also love to look at the She Devil. My mom brought me up with lots of sayings… “Beauty is only skin deep” and “Beauty is as beauty does” were both often repeated. I have ridden the She Devil enough to report that it is definitely qualified as a “beauty does”. As far as looks: Its champagne colored w/silver fenders & back rack. Champagne was my least favorite color online, but in person I like it a lot. The color subtly changes in different light…  looks simply beige in some light, but at times it takes on a bit of a pinkish or “mauve” tint, even maybe just a hint of the palest gray/ lavender or periwinkle: I think it will be fun to look at in different weather and sky conditions. I am happy with the two chain rings in the front, I appreciate those gears and I am glad I went with that option. It’s a very competent bike!  It coasts like a dream, pedals like a dream, very stable, easy to get on and off, and I do love just to look at it. It is graceful, and modest, and you could say understated.


I love to ride the country roads, it’s fun to ride with friends and family, but when I go alone I pay more attention to the details of the surroundings. This time of year, the spring right after most of the snow melts there are still pockets of dense snow left in low spots and ditches by the county snowplows, I can feel the cold air radiating out from them around my ankles... The raspy sounds of Sandhill cranes can often be heard sometimes I see them flying overhead, with their long necks and improbable flight posture, calling as they go. I see that my neighbors are tilling or planting their gardens. As the season gets warmer and finally hot, I prefer the very early or very late times of day, when the shadows of the forests and hills are long across the pavement. I smell the barbeque suppers of the neighborhood, see the youngsters out playing. If I get out in the country and it’s really close to summer sundown, I feel the distinct pockets of cooler air which have settled in the low dips where the small streams cross the road, and as I pass through that cool moist air, I remember how the damp limestone smelled when I lived in Ohio. During July, time of the longest days, there will come a magic evening moment when I coast down to a favorite intersection and find the farmer there has cut the field of hay. Somehow, the smell still amazes me- how strong and sweet and absolutely pleasant it is. When the hay is cut, I feel the moment of melancholy that rest of summer will go quickly.  In autumn, there will be rides where the leaves are brilliant against a clear and deep blue sky, and I can hear leaves falling and see them scurry under my wheels…..other autumn days when I ride in a misty drizzling rain and enjoy the way it feels to get truly chilled, and then enjoy hot chocolate when I get home.  Finally there is ice and snow and for a few months I wax up my skis and hang up the bike.  The She Devil is the right bike for me to continue these rides through the neighborhoods and out in the country for years to come –I think I actually must ride to stay happy and sane.


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