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Friday, May 17, 2013

Goodness, it's been a while since I've updated. But I have reasons.

Reason #1 - Winter. I hibernate in the winter. And we had a winter storm two weeks ago, so winter lasted quite a while.

Reason #2 - Once winter finished up, I got on my bike. And to be honest, I'd rather bike than blog about it. Especially because I decided I was going to 'earn' myself a new bike by putting $1 in the bike fund for every mile (oops, TEN miles) I biked. I was on a 3-year plan. A really optimistic 3-year plan.

Then, my dear mom decided I should get a new bike for Mother's Day / my half-a-Birthday. (See, with a winter birthday, it's hard for loving parents to get you a little red wagon or first bike as a birthday present and have it be reasonable, so we celebrate half-a-birthdays with things like that, sometimes.) EEEEK! From $4 in the bike fund to the promise of a new bike in a week? My mom is wonderful. And no, she's not looking for anyone to adopt. She has grandchildren to spoil, too.

Once I overcame the shock of taking a non-cyclist to my LBS and the potential sticker shock, I settled in to picking Which Bike I Really Wanted. My test ride last fall showed me I wanted a road bike. My bike shop's selection kinda said Specialized or Raleigh. Last year they had 2 Raleighs in stock; this year there are more. I rode the Dolce again, and loved it -- but wasn't sure if it was more bike than I needed, so I rode the Raleigh that would be a little bit more basic.

The Raleigh test ride showed me that I really should get the Dolce. Here's why. First off, I had to wait at the railroad crossing to get to the trail. Then, on the trail, I could really tell that the Dolce had Zertz, and the Raleigh did not. (Zertz are vibration absorbers. Do they actually do anything? Yup.) Then, I wrestled with one of the shifters. It just didn't want to shift! But when it did, going uphill, the chain jumped off. And got stuck. Two Good Samaritans with tire irons and I spent 5-10 minutes with 4 hands trying to unstick the chain and 2 hands keeping the bike upright.

And then, I had to wait at the RR crossing again. Not that there was a train, mind you -- I think they were testing the crossings. Or something.

Tuesday, I came home with a new bike. And of course, the first thing I wanted to do was to take it around the block. Except the block was 7 miles or so, and it was 104 degrees with a 25 mph wind, give or take a bit, with gusts in the 30s. My mom said no. And since she got me the bike, I listened. :)

I've been on 3 rides now. I've learned that I use different leg muscles on this bike. Talk about sore! And I work harder, too. I'm not sure why - my guess is because it's a super duper road bike, I'm 'supposed' to go fast, and so I pedal faster. I have a speedometer, too, and an odometer, and a clock -- none of which I had on my old bike. So not only do I *think* I should go faster, I can see how fast I'm going and work harder if I don't like the numbers. Silly mental games.

Heading into the wind is easier. Going up gentle hills is LOTS easier. Steep hills at the end of a ride seems about the same, but it's probably easier too. It's a new bike, right?

If two rides is enough to judge by, my average speed has jumped from 10-11.9 up to 14-15.9 mph. Not bad!

The hardest thing about the new bike is putting my water bottle back in the holder without pulling a muscle. Higher seat, stiffer cage ... I'm working on it.

Thanks, Mom!
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