Not too much bike

Last year, we went to the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival. I test rode a few things, including a very daunting full-suspension mountain bike. After five minutes, I told K, “This bike wants me off. It’s just waiting for me to make a mistake.” I took it back to the demo booth and told the very nice reps that it was “too much bike” for me.

I was worried when I bought my road bike that I had made a more subtle version of the mistake I made with that full-suspension bike. See, Elton–my road bike– and I had an unorthodox beginning. In early November, I was looking for a Lynskey. I went to our closest dealer, where they had nothing in my size. Then the sales clerk said, “But I do have a Serotta titanium bike, if you just want a feel for the material.” I rode around the parking lot for ten or fifteen minutes and noted that I really liked the bike. “This titanium is good stuff,” I thought, “I’ll order that Lynskey in the spring.” But the Serotta kept niggling in my mind.

By the time I finished saving my bike money, it was February. Snow everywhere. We were on our way to a warmer climate where I could do some riding (work reasons, which I won’t go into here), and I was afraid that the Serotta, a discontinued model at a very good price, would sell in the spring rush before we were back. This is how I managed to buy a high-end road bike with almost no test ride.

After the first ride or two, I was convinced that I had done something stupid. My shoulders hurt. My hands hurt. My bottom hurt. I couldn’t shift the front gear without veering all over the bike path. For that matter, I couldn’t do anything without veering all over the bike path. I rammed my pedal into a road bump, thanks to a low bottom bracket. I had trouble stopping at red lights, because I found it so awkward to dismount the bike.

This weekend, though, I think Elton and I hit our stride. K made some mechanical adjustments to my shifting and changed out the stem. Beyond that, I’ve just gotten used to the bike. On Sunday, I even realized that this bike is seriously fun. It zooms. I still want to make a few changes–narrower bars, non-black bar tape, and the saddle has got to go–but I see the beginnings of a beautiful relationship.

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