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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Went for another trail ride on Saturday morning. If anything I am regressing. The hills were harder, ever though they were the same ones, and my asthma attacked. I haven't had a problem in years, but this hill nonsense is HARD.

9.41 miles in 108 minutes; last week I did the same distance / elevation in 84 minutes.

I am not in shape to handle the hills, especially for a new sport. And I know a part of the problem is the bike. It is heavy compared to the others' mountain bikes, no shocks to handle the bumps, not as many gears/speed, and the seat is at the wrong angle to handle the kind of riding I have to do. Plus the seat itself causes me to keep shifting forward off the seat.

So I bit the bullet last night and ordered a mountain bike. I wanted to buy it from the store but since it was kind of a spur of the moment decision I was not prepared to pay cash or the debit card equivalent. My US Credit Union does a bang up job of protecting me from fraud by declining large purchases or withdrawals here in France; transferring the $$ from the US to France takes several business days and then there is also a limit on the amount I can put on my French debit card in 1 shot without pre-authorizing at the bank...and they pretend not to understand me when I try to talk to them.

So unless I pay cash there is generally no such thing as financing for me here. There are no credit cards really, not like we think of them in the USA (this is a GOOD thing!). There are short term store cards or payment plans...basically you make just 3 or 4 payments max, automatically deducted from your bank account. And because I am not a citizen I generally do not get approved for these plans (the excuse is that my Carte Sejour (green card) expires in 18 months, although why that is a problem when the item would be paid for in 3 months is still a mystery).

So not being the patient sort and willing to wait until I can transfer the $$ and go talk to the bank (has to be done in person)...I ordered the bike on-line last night...and just have to wait for it to be delivered sometime in the next week.

Waiting is a big thing here lol.

My new ride is a mid-level mountain bike Btwin RockRider 8.1 :

The downside is it comes with the clip pedals. Not something I am interested in; learning to ride the trails is enough of a new thing that I don't need the added complication of clipping myself to the bike, especially given my tendency to fall off. The bike store said they can put normal pedals on the bike but said something I didn't quite understand about wanting to put some sort of loop thing on the pedal where my toes would be. Kind of like a little basket for my toes. No idea why but it looks nearly as dangerous as clips. I'll ask someone what it is for & if I really need it the next time we ride.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi Rebekah,

    Thanks for the great post. To the best of my knowledge, Btwin bikes are not sold in the United States. I am glad to meet another mountain biker on Spark.

    I was curious about your new bike so I took a look at the Btwin website.

    This is a really spectacular bike for the price. There are five items that you seldom find on $1,000 bike, which are:

    (1) Shimano Deore crankset
    (2) RockShox Recon Solo Air front fork with remote lockout,
    (3) Good quality hydraulic disk brakes,
    (5) SRAM X7 group.

    You are going to need to buy a shox pump for you front fork, which costs about $30.

    The SRAM X7 shifters and derailleurs are accurate and durable. The frame is double-butted 6061 alloy, which means the frame tubes are thinner in low stress area and thicker at the welded joints. The 3x9 drivetrain gives you plenty of gears for all types of conditions.

    The mail-order website lists the weight at 18.5 kg , which is likely the shipping weight. There is no way this bike weighs 40 pounds! A medium version of this bike should be about 28 to 29 pounds.

    The bike comes with Wellgo pedals that are compatible with Shimano SPD cleats. "SPD" stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. Sometimes "SPD" is pronounced "spud". I use the SPD pedals on my mountain bikes. There is a term for falling over with clipless pedals, which is "Horizontal Track Stand".

    I do not recommend toe clips on a mountain bike. You can get your feet stuck in the toe clips during a crash, which is a very bad thing. Just use the flat pedals without toe clips.

    I use the SPD pedals for two reasons: (1) pedaling efficiency, and (2) to keep my feet on the pedals through bumpy sections.

    There is one more thing about a new bike to talk about. The saddles that come with most mid-range mountain bikes are generally not comfortable. You may need to get fitted for a new saddle that has the correct width for you. A lot of bike shops can determine the correct saddle width for you.

    I am anxious to hear about your adventures with your new bike.

    Thanks, Bruce
    1488 days ago
    Hang in there! You will figure it out.
    1489 days ago
    I am not a biker, but know enough to know that you are going to be better off with the new bike. Keep us posted as to how you do on your new machine LOL
    1490 days ago
    they are so your foot won't slip off, if you bike through water or dry dirt sometimes not enough friction and your foot will slip off, maybe why your falling?!?! have fun!
    1490 days ago
    Enjoy your new bike! emoticon I hope it helps you to traverse the hills better and that you'll have fun riding again. emoticon
    1490 days ago
    The new bike looks great! Have fun getting in those fitness minutes.
    emoticon emoticon
    1490 days ago
    FFK can do this!!! Vroom! Vroooom!
    1490 days ago
    I hope the new bike puts the fun back into biking for you
    1490 days ago
    My daughter is loving her time in Paris and is trying to manufacture a way to stay there. The French love her, and she loves them!

    No bike for her -- she lives in a 6th-floor walk-up, and takes the stairs even though there is an elevator!
    1490 days ago
    The French do not like Americans and we learned that when we were stationed in England and went to tour Europe while we were there and the french did not like talking to us and had sent us in the wrong direction for the ferry to go back to England where we were stationed.
    1490 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    I am sure you will live the. we bike. Let us know how it works out. That bank thing sounds silly!!,
    1490 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    Good luck with the new emoticon . Hope this is going to be the answer to your riding woes.
    1491 days ago
    Hope it solves the problem and brings the fun back to your biking :) Can you maybe switch out the pedals?
    1491 days ago
    Sounds like a good plan. I think pedals with the "Toe Clips" are what they're talking about and that's what you want....I think it's too dangerous to be a beginner MT Biker with regular clips. The toe clip is a little basket you stick your shoe in. It allows you to pull up on the pedal while your other foot pushes down. They're a good thing.

    Enjoy the new ride!
    1491 days ago
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