Sunday, May 4, 2008

The day she came home....

For the past 4 weeks I have been riding an el cheapo bike from Target, which has gotten me what I have needed to start so far. It has helped me to realize that I really enjoy cycling and that I can actually do it, and not just for leisure. My goal is to keep increasing my distance and speed and from what I have read up on, the bike I have will not assist me in that goal. What I have now is a mountain bike with those big fat tires and the crank gear shifts on the handles. Hate those things. It makes going up hills difficult when the gears change on you when you don't mean for them to. So I got the idea in my head to go shopping for a starter road bike.

It was raining when I woke up today. I wasn't very happy about that because today was the day I was going to go "looking" and see what I could find. I had already been doing some research on line so I sort of knew what I was looking for but I wanted more input from the pros at the shop. I stuck around home for a little while and then decided to just go. I was only going to look anyway so it didn't really matter if it was raining, except for the fact I could not test ride the bikes, which could prove to make or break my decision. I went anyway.

I went to my local shop, Rockford Bicycle Co., and enjoyed every minute I was there. The girl that helped me, her name is Chelsea, was very knowledgeable and patient. I say patient because I had A LOT of questions and I wasn't completely sure what I wanted. I told her that up front and she was very willing to help and answered all of my questions. I was there for almost two hours!

We looked at three types of bikes: a hybrid, a road bike, and an FX. I knew from the start I did not want a hybrid as she made it sound like that was more for comfort. Well, I am all for comfort but that was not my only reason for getting a bike. I wasn't going to ride it for a leisurely ride through the park, so that clearly was not my choice. I couldn't decide between the FX and the road bike. I wanted to be able to go the distance as well as use it for fitness. I don't plan to race anytime soon, but eventually I'd like to group ride for events and such, but not race. The other concern I had was that some of the trails around here are not all completely paved. So, if I were on a road bike and happened upon these sections, it would not be good. However, the FX came with road tires...but...I could have them switched out for what I think she called "slick" tires. Correct me if I am wrong, please! These are a bit larger than a road tire with more traction for when I would come across those gravel or packed sand patches, but nothing as large as mountain bike tires. I could not get these kinds of replacement tires for the road bike. Overall, the FX seemed to be what I was looking for right now. So that is what I chose, the Trek 7.3 FX WSD in a pretty gold color. I had them switch out the tires for the slick tires, but also kept the road tires in case i needed them. It seemed to be perfect!

I had to get pedal cages to make my work more efficient, so they put those on for me. Once I am used to those, I am going to change pedals and get the clip in shoes. I already know which ones I want, but I want to get used to the cages first. We went over oiling the chain, what the psi for the tires should be, maintenance (oh yeah, I get this free for life because I got the bike from them..YAY!) So much to know and learn, but I feel I am off to a great start, thanks to Chelsea and Ryan. Ryan was the mechanic, he did all the changes for me.

I can tell you that it was a great experience going into Rockford Bicycle. Everyone there is great and they really want to make sure you understand and have all your questions answered! That is very important to me, being new and all. I need a reliable source to be able to go to.

After all that I needed a way to get her home! So, I purchased the Saris Bones RS trunk rack. Very easy to use, even for me and I took her home with me. Lucky enough for me, it quit raining long enough for me to get her home.

When I got home, I rode around the block a few times, about a mile, because I knew it was going to rain again. Sure enough...down pour! Good thing I had gotten home already.

So other than not being able to ride much, I am a happy camper. Wait. No. That's not right. I am a happy cyclist! I can't wait to go for a real ride and see how she handles.

Keep on pedalin'........

1 comment:

Ed W said...

You'll know you're well and truly bitten when you decide you need a good bike for nice weather and a beater bike for rain, snow, or what have you. One of my co-workers rode a 'mart bike for years until the back wheel was almost square. he was careful about maintenance, but I wouldn't recommend that level of intensity for anyone.

Still, you'll need to learn some basic mechanical skills - like fixing a flat tire. It's not rocket science and it's fairly easy. If LAB offers BikeEd in your area, consider taking a Road1 course. It covers a lot of basic information and teaches critical skills.

I'm an instructor, so I have to say that.