Friday, July 24, 2009

For Lovely Bicycle

I adore the blog "Lovely Bicycle". Everyday, I turn on my computer to see if Filigree has posted anything new. She's inspired me to write just a bit about my old Schwinn. The discussion on her blog was about getting used to a road bike if you normally ride a comfort or hybrid so I thought I jot down a few of my thoughts.

My Schwinn was a $10 thrift store purchase. I already owned a beach cruiser (we lived on the South Florida coast at the time) and my Specialized hybrid when I found the Schwinn. The bike was in "like new" condition but I changed out a few things at my husbands suggestion. I purchased a new saddle from Performance and had my local shop (Bicycle Sport of Vero Beach, Florida) put on new drop bars and brakes. This year, I finally changed out the pedals to Shimano's M-520's but more on that issue later.

Like Filigree, I was a little intimidated by this bike. If you are used to wide tires and sitting upright, this is a big change. I didn't have a lot of trouble adjusting to the position since I rode a boy's 10-speed during my teenage years but as you can see in the
picture, I have tilted the bars toward me rather than having them totally flat and even with the saddle. It made the transition a little easier. I also added a rear view mirror.

What I love about the bike is it's speed. Even though it's an old steel bike, it's a lot lighter than any of my other bikes. Hills are not really a big challenge when I'm riding it. What takes some getting used to is how it handles road problems such as gravel, potholes, bumps, cracks, etc. I have to be a lot more careful and skilled when I'm on it.

I had my first crash on this bike. The crash happened shortly after I started riding it and I tackled some wet train tracks in a way that only an inexperienced rider would. I was used to the handling of the hybrid and I just didn't anticipate how a skinny tire would handle the track. The back wheel went out from under me and the next thing I knew; I was on the ground. Lesson learned. The arm healed and the road rash went away.

Now I own a fleet of bikes. They all serve different purposes and which one I take depends on where I'm going, road/weather conditions and my mood. It's nice to have that choice and I love them all.
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Filigree said...

Hey, thanks so much for your kind words -- what a pleasure to read this!

It was such a relief to hear that other women have a similar experience to mine when trying to ride a road bike for the first time; it was a real shock to me when I realised just how different it feels to ride one.

I agree about the speed and weight being the best thing about these bikes. The speed and ability to handle hills are so amazing, that on the trail I often think, "God, why do I torture myself with the upright bikes?"... But then I cycle in traffic and remember the answer to that!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a fun history to read--and I feel better now with my TWO bikes knowing you have a FLEET!

Dottie said...

It's great to hear about women's experiences with road bikes. I've been too scared to ride one beyond a parking lot. One day I will try. A $10 solid steel bike is a good way to try it out :) I wonder how different a steel road bike would ride than my Betty Foy - she's pretty fast and good on hills, but not racing-fast.