Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wanna Meet My Trek?

On Thursday, I took my first bike ride of the year. I worked in the morning and from the office, I called my husband and asked him if he would haul my bike up from the basement. When I got home, there it was in the garage in all its splendor. If you’re into bikes, you might be interested in its features:

It’s a Trek 7.3 FX WSD (Women Specific Design).
FRAME FX Alpha Black Aluminum
FORK FX Alloy w/tapered wall thickness, straight blades
WHEELS Alloy front, Shimano RM60 rear hub; Bontrager Camino rims
CRANK Shimano M341 48/38/28 w/chainguard

All I really care about is that the wheels go around, it’s lightweight and appropriate for both leisure riding and racing. Oh, it has to be nice looking too. It’s a metallic gold color so I’m good to go. Almost.

Actually, there were a few other things I was concerned about when I bought the bike last year. First, I wanted to be able to see what was happening behind me without physically turning to look back. (I crashed a few years ago doing exactly that). So, I asked the salesman to put a rear view mirror on it. Second, I need my cell phone with me and a few other items so, I told Matt to add a small carryall pack to the underside of my bike seat. Third, on long rides in the heat of the summer, I’m bound to get thirsty. “You better put one of those bottle holders on while you’re at it. Um, how about a black one.”
I was on a roll. Fourth, since I like to compete, I have to know how fast I’m going, how far I’ve gone, my average speed, my maximum speed and heck, why not have a record of my total ride time too. “Excuse me again, Matt. How about one of those thingamajiggys? Yeah, that one in the yellow package hanging right there.” I think Matt was on commission because he was ready and willing to sell me anything I wanted. He wore this big old smile on his face whenever I picked out another item.

You think I’m done buying, right? Wrong. In competitions, a helmet is required. It didn’t take me long to select one that matched my bike. Well, why not? The next purchase was Matt’s fault. “Would you be interested in selecting a clipless shoe/pedal system?” he asked. I knew a little bit about that type of pedal but the idea scared me. The regular pedals are removed and a special type is put on the bike. I would have to select biking shoes. They would be fitted with cleats on the bottom that would fit into a receiver on the pedal. The purpose is to allow force to be applied to the pedal during the upstroke as well as the down stroke, thus creating greater speed.
I decided to give it a try. What’s the worst thing that could happen, I thought. I could lose my balance on the bike and fall with my feet attached to the pedals. To remove your foot and shoe from the pedal, you have to twist your heel in an outward movement. That disconnects the cleat from the pedal. I could get hurt pretty bad. Oh well, I’m a risk taker.

I debated about that longer than any of my other add-ons. I have to say that I’m glad I decided to give it a try because it give me an advantage. It took me a while to learn how to step on the pedal and get the cleat to snap into the receiver with both left and right bike shoes. That took some practice. Then I had to keep it foremost in my mind that when I was riding and I wanted to come to a stop, I couldn’t just put a foot down on the pavement. I had to twist my heel first and then put my foot down. There have been a few occasions at intersections when I’ve forgotten to do that until the very last second. Fortunately, so far, I’ve not made a spectacle of myself by falling over sideways at a stop sign.

After I had my bike for a couple of months and had become used to the clipless pedals, I decided to make my bike more aerodynamic. Another trip to the bike shop and I came away with aerobars attached to my handlebars. They allow me to lean my body forward beyond the handlebars by leaning my forearms on padded rests as my hands grip the aerobars which extend over the front tire. In this position, my body is more streamlined because my upper body is now creating less wind resistance. My neck muscles are strained in this position but they eventually adapt.

I bought my bike in March, last year, and I put over 770 miles on it (I know that because of the thingamajiggy I had Matt put on it). So this year, it didn’t take me long to reacquaint myself with it.

When I started to write here today, I didn’t plan to go into all of these details. But now that I have, I’m going to wait for another day to tell the “rest of the story.”


(By the way, the bike shop had a sale on bikes and all accessories the day I went bike crazy. Just think of all the money I saved!)
Eeeeeek! I just added the two photos, clicked on Publish Post and then clicked on View Blog. My bike photo is fine and dandy, but me in my helmet, oh my! Does anyone know how to delete a photo here or at least change the size? I took it of myself after my ride, bloodshot eyes and all. And whose wrinkles are those? Perhaps my Sony malfunctioned, the naughty little thing!


Gullible said...

That is a beauty! I'm going to get mine down from the hangers in the garage soon--like when it quits snowing and the temps get out of the thirties. How much weight did you add to it with all the money you saved? :) Mine's a $150 special from Costco. Works for me, but I don't get into competitions. And, I stop a lot to pick up litter.

Sarah said...

I agree with Gully! This one is packed with your great writing AND a lot of great information. I had no idea you had this much fun at the bike store that day. Thanks for all the info Shaddy, you make me want to get my antique Trek down off the hangers in the garage...

Happy Easter!