When Adam and I moved to Brooklyn this past summer, I discovered the unofficial mascot of the borough. Every where I looked people were zipping around on bicycles. Brooklyn is a great place in new york for cycling - there are tons of bike lanes, the neighborhoods are close together, but the trains are a little inconvenient, and best of all, there seems to be an understanding between the cars and cyclists. I saw hybrid bikes with shopping baskets and panniers, racers that must have weighed only 2ounces, and my soon to be favorite - mountain bikes. I wanted one sooo bad, but I didn't know if I could commit to the lifestyle.
After a few weeks of living here, I decided to give it a try. I bought an cheap used ranger, called up an avid cyclist friend for advice, and started braving the streets. Well, big shock, I barely took it out. I tried doing laps in the park but had nothing but problems. I couldn't scale the huge hills that give Park slope it's name sake, and I had a hard time dealing with stoplight intersections. I got discouraged, and the ranger sat on the landing untouched.
A few months later, I got back into it, especially since stationary biking is my cardio of choice. I wanted to be able to do my exercising outside, and I heard the lovely autumn weather beacon to me. I took the ranger out for another spin around the park, and when I geared down for a steep incline, something went wrong with my gears and it needed to be serviced. After getting it looked at, I decided it wasn't worth the cost of repairs, and decided to get a new bike for just a little extra dough.
I can't believe what a difference it made! Actually, I can, now that I've been riding it for a while. The breaks work! No more trouble at stoplights (or anywhere else for that matter) EVERY single gear works. Apparently the ranger only had two gears going for it. That means I can suffer through the inclines with everyone else. It's my size, it's got big wide tires (I went for the mountain bike) which means my but doesn't get as sore - it rolls over cobble stone and construction areas lightly and wonderfully. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new bike! (Jamis explorer btw) and I must say, I have been using it steadily since I picked it up in September - I ride to and from work at least 3 times a week, and regularly do laps in the park.
All I can say is, good equipment really made a difference for me! And I love my bike so much that I take super extra care of it. I look forward to every ride, and don't even mind carrying it up and down the stairs for storage. Perhaps I'll splurge on some decent running shoes next time and give that one a go...