Flying Without Leaving the Ground

My youngest daughter wanted to ride her bike to school the other day.  I decided to ride with her so I could help her lock up.  My 11 year old left her ID card at home, so I decided that after getting my youngest to school, I would just bike to the junior high school to drop off the ID card.  Why oh why had I not gotten on my bike all summer?

A long time ago, I was riding 15 miles every other day and loving it.  There’s nothing like coasting on a nice downhill stretch to get that feeling of flying.  The wind whistling past my face and the raw, pure feeling of speed.  Recently, I found the blog of one of my old high school friends and she is all about cycling, it’s what she does.  This woman, whom I haven’t talked to in 20 years, has inspired me to hop on my bike for the last three days.  My ass hurts, and I really need to invest in a few pair of padded shorts, but I’m loving it.  I’ve logged a little over 26 miles in the past three days and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

The thing is, my bike is ancient.  It’s an old (over 15 years) Trek 820 mountain bike.  It’s heavy, and it’s slow.  I never go off-road.  The closest I’ll ever get is the crushed limestone on the Illinois Prairie Path.  So of course I’m shopping around for a new bike.  I stopped by my local bike shop (LBS) yesterday to pick the brain of the manager.  I told him that while I enjoy my bike, it’s more for slower family bike rides, I’m looking for something a little zippier and lighter.  I was considering a regular road bike (those are the kind with the super skinny tires), but I couldn’t do any gravel (see:  Illinois Prairie Path) with them.  He suggested I look into a cyclocross bike.  They are lighter than a mountain bike, but built to be a little more rugged than a road bike.  The tires are a bigger diameter than my mountain bike, but they are smoother, with a little tread on them (unlike a road bike, which has smooth tires).  It seems to fit the bill, and I would just need to decide what kind of handlebars to get.  Currently my mountain bike has flat handlebars, which gives me a more upright posture.  The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning toward drop handle bars to give me a little variety in hand positions.

Looking at the price tags, I definitely haven’t gone bike shopping in quite some time.  The cyclocross bikes I saw start at about $800.  Not to mention I need shorts, gloves, and I need to decide what kind of pedals I would get.  If I go for clipless, I need special shoes.  All that would add up fairly quickly.   And I can’t even afford the bike right now.

Maybe if my interest in this continues over the next couple of weeks, I can work out some sort of pre-Christmas arrangement with my mom and dad.


1 Comment

  1. My husband and I used to bike all the time – almost 15 miles every night. And we do occasionally still do. We bought old Schwinn speed bikes at a toy store going out of business about 20 years ago and then last year, a woman I work with and her hubby got new mountain bikes so she gave us theirs. So now we have 4 bikes. Check your local craigslist, freecycle, etc. You never know – sometimes people are getting rid of perfectly good bikes just because they fell out of the habit. Let their bad habit become your good habit!

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