Got a road bike! (And found a great store)
By Eric Armstrong on Jun 12, 2008
I started working my spinner, and noticed that my knee didn't hurt as much as after a run.
Then I went to the gas pump and spent $75 on gas. Time for a road bike!
So I went out, shopped around, and gots me one (a Trek 2.1 Pilot, with extra comfort features like a rear mini-shock (will need lubricating once in a while, but worth it) and front vibration dampers.
As important as it is to find the right bike, finding the right store may be even more important. I got my bike at the Chain Reaction store on Foothill Expressway in Los Altos, CA. They do professional setup, and will adjust things as many times as needed to get the fit right. I changed my saddle and toe clips. They adjusted. I wasn't quite comfortable with the stem. They swapped it. (Twice) And in addition, I got knowledgeable answers from experienced riders on every question under the sun! So while I'm pretty sure I got the right bike, I know I got the right store.
But back to the bike...
I never knew how people went out for long rides. Now I know! The rims are a third as heavy, with half the spokes. The tires are a third as wide, with twice the pressure. And the whole bike weighs a fraction of my fat-tire wheels.
Peddling the thing is just darn effortless. There's no resistance. Unless I want to seriously crank up the speed. Then I get a workout. (And it goes like crazy.) But for a low-itensity ride, the pedaling is so easy to that it feels like I'm floating. Or sailing. Or flying. Seriously. My legs don't feel like they're doing anything. They're just spinning around in circles, not really exerting any effort, and every stroke takes the bike another 10 yards down the road.
It's an aluminum frame, so it felt rock solid coming down a steep hill. (I tested a larger all-carbon frame, and just felt ansy-scared on a fast downhill. There was no particular reason I could point to. I just felt undefinably scared.)
But while the (slightly smaller) aluminum frame gives it rigidity, I've got carbon in the front fork, the rear stays, and the seat tube. That was supposed to be enough comfort. It was certainly noticably more comfortable than the all-carbon frame without the mini-shock and vibration dampener. But my butt was still mega-sore after a short while. So I got the cushiest seat I could find--think lounge chair--and I'll be experimenting with others until I find the right one and/or my backside toughens up.
At that point, I'll be ready for serious distance.
And the bike is as fast as all get out when I want it to be. I blew away a fat tire the other day, just because I could. (Uppity fellow pulled away from at a stoplight. I was in the middle of three chain rings, in a middle gear out of 10 on the rear cassette. So I cranked it up a notch. I popped it into the highest front gear, moved up a couple on the cassette, and put some effort into it. I blew by him. At the next light, I was waiting for a while before he made an appearance.)
Color me pleased.