Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knee Update Remix - B Side - Quest For A Road Bike

I hate writing about my knee, I hate talking about it, and it's one of the things that puts me in a foul mood. That said, knee recap is as follows: my right leg is still weak, and even though I am doing my PT exercises and have been going to the gym I still haven't recovered 100%. Even if I didn't have DailyMile taunting me with the zero on Monday, I'd still feel bad because of the lack of endorphins and the lack of exercise. I rarely gripe, but maybe someone else feels the way I do. Enough whining.
I'm on a new mission right now, spurred on by necessity and curiosity.

This is what I thought I wanted, a nice bike to be sure! It's just not me right now.

A dear friend of mine races road bikes and invited me to visit him at his shop to discuss bikes. I went in fully expecting to want a hybrid bicycle to work out on and get some commute miles in. I left wanting a road bike more than anything!
Something about the lightness, the swiftness, the relative effortlessness of riding those bikes got me hooked and now I am ruined... I've always loved bikes,I was immersed in bmx freestyle culture in the 80s to early 90s, but road bikes were always goofy to me. Which makes perfect sense! Growing up I thought runners were goofy and for years I worked near Fleet Feet downtown shaking my head at runners and thinking "what's the point?"
Now this is more like it! Sleek, smooth, oh darn I'm going to have to wear those silly shorts now right?

I now see my road bike as part of my step back - to running. Yes, even though I can go further with the same caloric expenditure, I love running and miss it. My dream, silly as it sounds, is to strengthen my legs using this biking thing, commute to work here and there and save some money on gas, and at the same time get some mileage down. Not so much for DailyMile, but just for ME!

me in 1986 or so. Note the SOD shirt, painters cap and ridiculous shorts.
That's a Mongoose Decade there underneath me.

Right now I'm in the research phases, I resisted the urge to walk out of the first bike shop with a Trek 1.1 and still want to test ride more bikes. I've visited about a half dozen shops just to ask people different things and here is what I've found.

- Bikes are expensive. I mean, there's no middle ground! You go from cheapo dept store bikes to 'good' bikes with no 'average' bike. So there's that crappy steel bike and then there's a $700 investment. Just like that!
- Most every bike shop I've been into has been helpful and friendly. I've done some mild social engineering, feigning ignorance at some shops, admitting what I do know at others, just to see if I get different reactions. By and large bike people are pretty much like runners: obsessive geeks that will talk about the minutiae of their sport till your ear bleeds or you look at your watch and tell them you are on your lunch break.
- There's a whole bike culture that goes along with these bikes that I'm trying to avoid if at all possible. I have no intention of racing! I just want to get better and get some sun while I'm at it.
- Most manufacturers have entry level bikes that have "entry level" components. I still don't understand the whole better components thing. My mountain bike is over a decade old so to me, any change is like me hopping onto Lance Armstrong's bike.

- When I tell people I am a runner primarily, they actually get stoked because they know I'm actually going to ride and not just buying a bike because it's "cool". Seriously! I had two guys tell me "Oh you wouldn't believe how many people buy bikes but then don't actually ride" - I do believe him. After all haven't we all joined the gym only to never go work out? Sometimes it takes an attempt or two.
So that's what I've been up to. Bookmarking sites, reading blogs, asking questions and trying to learn. Before I plunk down a bunch of money I want to be sure I'm getting the right product.
If you have any links or advice, I'm all ears! Thanks for reading, and go out there and run a few steps for me!

1 comment:

  1. Bicycling is one way I rehabbed my knee, so of course I'm all for this new plan of yours. Plus, you're not completely new to bikes so you'll actually use it. I'm also the type to do a lot of shopping, researching and debating, but whenever I do that it winds up being worth the wait. Tip: If you know enough about bikes, you can find great deals on Craig's List. More than one friend of mine has done that.

    It takes a LOT of self-motivation for me to get out my bike, and when I'm out there it just seems to last forever. Funny how two hours of biking makes me go nuts from boredom, but two+ hours of running is no problem. That makes no sense, since I pass a whole a lot more interesting things on my bike than the vastly slower running pace. But when I'm done and my quads feel fatigued, it's a great feeling. You'll have that soon, too!