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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thoughts on a Saturday Morning

Thursday my husband and I went to order my new bicycle making the long drive to Tennessee. I appreciate his company as I know that riding in a car for that length of time will be painful for him, but I also know that he wants to be involved. Because of his health, there are so few things we can do together any more, and I know that it bothers him. Today is ours. My husband bought me my first bike because he worried that all the running I was doing would hurt my knees. I thought he was wrong and that I would never give up running, but with age came foot pain and hip pain. Mostly, I just found that I loved the world of distance cycling and the friends that I made there.

I have very mixed feelings about buying this bike. I already have a Trek road bike, a Cannondale road bike, a Raleigh fixed gear bike, and a mountain bike. My home is littered with bicycles, and I love each one. True, my road bikes all have lots of miles, but they get me down the road. I justify the purchase in that the money is coming from a Pit Bull attack I suffered while on a ride that left me somewhat scarred, both internally and externally. It wasn't a large sum of money as the damage was not too serious, but it is enough to buy myself a new bicycle. Mainly I was glad that the attack did not ruin my enjoyment of cycling or did not do serious, long lasting damage. If I were a young woman, the scars on my leg would bother me more than they do, but I am older now and no longer struggle so with the realization that I was not one of the few born breathtakingly beautiful.

I don't know why I always feel guilty about spending money on myself, as if somehow I am not worthy of the nice things that others have. Maybe it is because my job normally makes me realize how much I do have compared to others or maybe because of the way I was raised. But enough of that nonsense.

The store was a welcoming place where one could browse and lust over different bicycles, clothing, and accessories. The employees arrived at work via bicycle despite the location on a very busy street. I see all types of useful lights and other items that my local store doesn't carry. Every nook and cranny of the store has something on display, and the store is much smaller than my local store, but there seems to be more merchandise. I ponder whether this is really the case or whether it is just that it is new so I am seeing it with fresh eyes. Sometimes when we see something or someone regularly, we miss what is right before our eyes. I think someone once said that familiarity breeds contempt. I like to think it is not true, but I suspect that there is a grain of truth there.

I have struggled with guilt over buying a bicycle from a shop other than my local bicycle shop, but my shop does not carry this bike and does not have the equipment to do the fit that this shop has. I suspect my local shop would have been much cheaper, but this is probably a one time luxury for me and I do so want it to be right. I test ride a cheaper version of the brand of bicycle I am getting and am amazed at the ride. I feel as if I am gliding on the pavement. It has been a long time, if ever, that I have ridden a bike that shifts so crisply. Unfortunate, there are no large hills to tackle, but I am satisfied.

Lynn, the man who fits me, spent about three to four hours with me that day all in all. I had taken my PBP bike, the Trek, with me. He admires the fitting that was done and makes a few suggestions. It is interesting to me to see my cadence and power output become less erratic with the changes. I am glad that he was honest about the fit because I know it is close to right. The only pain I suffered on PBP was neck pain the last 100 miles or so and numb big toes. I can see the change he makes in the line of my back in the mirror. While I suspect he is right and the change will improve my riding, I also worry that it won't and that it will be a problem. I guess this is part of getting a new bike, this worry.

After the fit, I picked out what I wanted on my bike. Every time I asked about the cost, my husband reminded me that this was a one time thing and that I should get what I want. It reminds me of a time in the old bike store when he wanted to buy me a bike that was there and I would not allow it. One of the young men there could not believe it, that I would not allow him to buy me the bicycle, but he also didn't know we had two children to put through college at that time. Now that responsibility has also passed.

I picked not to have my frame painted and to have the the logos engraved. Originally I intended to only buy the bicycle there and have my local shop build the bicycle, but my husband believed this was a mistake and that it would be best to let the one shop design the bike so that everything will match and be put together the way the fit demanded. I had mixed feelings about this, but I value his advice. Still, one of my great fears is that my local bike shop will be angry with me. I struggle over these component decisions because originally I had not intended to make these decisions there, but Lynn guides me through as best he can. With the wheels, I tell him that I need to be able to limp home if I break a spoke or get to a control if I am on a ride. This will give me comfort when I am out on the bicycle that I don't have presently on any bike but my fixed. I do so hope I made the right decisions.

I struggle with the color of the handlebar tape, debating between blue and green. I love both of these colors, but blue wins out. I do so want my new bike to be beautiful as well as functional for I hope that we will spend lots of hours and miles together. I hope to be able to qualify for PBP again and to take this bike with me. As if my Trek were a child, I feel slightly guilty over this because it has reliably taken me over so many terrains and held my hand through the last PBP. It makes me wonder if everyone is this way or just me.

Six weeks gestation and my new bike should arrive. Hopefully it will be all I imagined and then some.


  1. Melissa,

    Enjoyed reading your story about the new bike. One of the golden rules: there's no such thing as having too many bikes! I have 8 (!) (I'll be adding pictures to my facebook page soon) and although I never set out to buy that many bikes, I love them all. Although the fit is the same on all of them, they're all set up differently. I know it sounds strange but I wake up in the morning thinking of the bike I want to ride and if for some reason I can't ride THAT bike, I don't ride!

    I think you made a good choice with the naked Ti, that's how my Ti bike (Serotta) is and it definitely is the right call for a bike you're going to travel with - no paint to scratch. My Serotta looks as good today as it did when I picked it up at the store and it's got 10s of thousands of miles on it.

    Us bike geeks want to hear more about your component choices (group, wheels, bars, ...) and be sure to post the mandatory shot in front of the garage door when you get it ;).


  2. Struggled over handlebar tape color???? Did you worry about cable color? What about the color of your bottom bracket? Seriously, you'll love this bike and I am very jealous that you can have it 6 weeks! So what other bike are you taking to Texas besides the Lynsky? - I just noticed that you never mentioned that it is a Lynsky Which model did you get? And like Greg mentioned, we expect to see a full listing of what you ordered.

  3. Welcome to the blogging world, Melissa. I'm a big fan of blogs and your writing so I'll be looking forward to many more posts. And to seeing your new bike. Congratulations.


  4. The frame is the level 2 custom. I didn't feel as if I needed the best and I didn't want to go with the cheapest. I wanted a triple and went with the Ultegra on the advice of the fitter. I also got the Ultegra hubs as he said that the difference between Ultegra and Durace was only a bit of weight and that the Ultegra were more dependable for rough riding. The rims are Pro Mavic open. And I should have left you wondering about the important thing: the color of the handlebar tape;-)