Friday, May 1, 2009

Which Bike?

One of my earliest memories was on a bike. Certainly, I recall with fondness my first time on two wheels (after ditching the training wheels). No one forgets that.  It seemed like I was flying. Like all firsts that are similarly comparable (first wave on a surfboard; first time downhill on a snowboard) it’s that unnatural feeling of gliding on a surface at such speed, leaving you wanted to do it again and again. After I got the hang of riding sans training wheels, I got cocky and wiggled the handlebars left to right as if to weave on a slalom course with little orange cones. Of course, I got hucked and endo’ed head first onto the pavement. Since then, my bikes turned from a Huffy-like cruiser, to an old ten-speed from Consumers Distributed, to a Murry BMX bike (blue knobby tires and plastic wheels, similar to the pic..And the plastic seat? Well, to save weight, of course!!.)  

Fast forward to 2000.  Scenes of my wife and I in full rainsuits and crash helmets (the Rollerball kind) on singlespeed bikes going down Mt. Haleakala in Maui on our honeymoon.  2001: We tour the Tuscan countryside to the village of Fiesole on our bikes. (Note: Both trips were day jaunts on a whim. Also note, if your spouse has a fast metabolism, you may want to pack snacks or God help you if you drag her on an all day bike tour). It’s one thing to see scenery from a car, yet another to experience it on a bike. I’ve been thinking a lot about getting back on the bike, especially seeing the gas prices going up again, and my belt getting tighter and tighter by the hour. But what kind? Certainly not the Mongoose MTB in my shed that I put the kid’s seat on the back. Although I did take that from Robert Moses to Fire Island (great trip we did on a whim in 2001- Fire Island is like a separate colony. So many bikes and wagons abound!) I don’t see getting a lot of efficient commuting on that. I needed something else. But what?

After lurking what seemed to be forever on several cycling/bike forums, sites, craigs’ and fleabay, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a used or new bike. And what kind? I looked at a few hybrids, but wasn’t feeling it. So I decided between a cyclocross and a touring bike.  Which was crazy expensive, even a used one. But I was concerned about fit, and decided to go the way of the forums:”Go to your Local Bike Shop (LBS) and get fitted- first and foremost!” So I did, and I got to say, the best decision I ever made.

There are a few on Long Island, but I hit up Mineola Bike and Lawn mower during lunch. The shop’s been around since 1935 and Barry was extremely helpful. He asked me questions and wasn’t trying to ‘sell me’ anything like a car salesman would.  He guided me to a Specialized Sequioa, which is an entry-level road bike but has some touring aspects to it as well.  He said the carbon fork and seat post would put comfort in my commute as well as having an upright position on the handlebars.  He had me try one and said they needed to order a size down because of the geometry of the bike and how I was reaching over, which was a good thing because I would normally 58-59cm and he had to order a 56 cm.  Go to your LBS people!  You won’t regret it.

Some key features of the Specialized Sequoia:

Key Features

• Ergonomic Road Geometry
We understand that many riders today require a more body-friendly position on the bike; this brought about our scientific approach to ergonomic frame design in the Sequoia family. Ergonomic geometry has three specific attributes:
1. More upright riding position created by a shorter top tube and taller head tube; being more upright reduces back strain. Riders who have reduced flexibility in their back or neck, a desire to be more upright for enhanced visibility, or tend to get sore hands due to too much pressure on them are all candidates for a bike that provides more comfort by addressing these needs.
2. Lower bottom bracket. Improved stability is achieved by lowering the center of gravity, improving cornering control.
3. Optimized weight distribution. Ensuring the correct weight distribution creates a confidence-inspiring, stable ride.
The result is the most ergonomic and comfortable performance road bike on the market, without compromise to ride quality or efficiency.
• Zertz
Over the course of a ride, vibrations can take their toll on a rider, sapping comfort, energy, and focus. The goal of Zertz technology is to minimize vibrations transmitted to the rider, accomplished through elastomeric inserts in the fork, handlebar, seatstays, and seatpost. The result is a smoother, more comfortable ride.
• Zertz Handlebar
Similar to an engine motor mount, this ingenious and effective innovation employs a proprietary damping material between the handlebar clamping area and the stem and in special voids formed into stays, fork legs, and seatpost. The material has been proven to isolate vibrations and reduce transmission to the rider, decreasing fatigue and increasing comfort, without compromising rigidity.
• Fully butted A1 Premium Aluminum
A1 is our time-tested aluminum alloy frame material. The difference comes in our engineering and design team’s exact control over every phase of the alloy’s existence, from raw billet to finished frame. By controlling every aspect of construction, our A1 frames are able to affordably maximize strength-to-weight ratios and ride quality.

Sounds good to me! Here's my VISA!! (I need help...)

Now the waiting. Which is good, since I still need more gear. But you guys who are obsessed with gear like I tend to be will know when I have both a feeling of elation/anxiety when a new package comes. Elation, well that’s obvious- New Stuff!! Anxiety, well, THAT comes when your wife gets home before you do and asks,”What the F_____ did you order now???””

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