Coming out of hibernation

I’ve spent the winter with the bike mounted in the trainer, riding just about every night. However, that hasn’t stopped me from eating many a hearty dinner or renegade bowls of ice cream. The damage hasn’t been too bad, but I do admit to gaining a couple of pounds along the way.

But winter is at an end and I’ve been waiting to get back out on the road. And there has been another urge. A new bike has been calling me. I’ve done nearly 2,000 miles on the current bike and I can tell, it’s not made for this sort of thing, and quite frankly, it’s not made for me. The bikes have been great but the fit is wrong. I’m leaning out too far, my weight is shifted in the wrong direction. I want to put on the big miles and the bike I have just isn’t going to let that happen.

So on this warm Saturday with grand ideas in my head I went to Carolina Bicycle Company to see my buddy Steve. I mainly wanted to talk about the group rides and jumping back in, but while I was there we decided to try out a few bikes. Steve is familiar with the rides I do now, and what I wanted to do in the future. We talked a lot about the type of bike I should look at, and then just for giggles, he took a few down and I went for a spin around the parking lot.

Steve watched how I ride and what my position is like. He made a few adjustments to the bike, grabbed a whole different bike, adjusted it, and had me ride around comparing the two. I was beginning to feel the difference in hand position and seat height. I was beginning to feel the difference between aluminum and carbon.

Pretty quickly Steve dialed in an aluminum frame for me and had me ride around in the parking lot, over the bumps and cracked pavement. While I was gone, he sized up a carbon frame for me and then sent me off on that one. The first bike was great. The second was even smoother. The fit and feel was totally different than what I was used to.

The first bike was a Specialized Allez, aluminum and a thrill to ride.

The second bike was the Roubaix, and I just couldn’t give it back. Steve was laughing as I came back from my ride with a huge grin on my face. Apparently I was gone for more than just a couple of minutes.

"I see we have a winner", he laughed.

Indeed we did! After riding it for around 20 minutes in that parking lot; swerving, jumping the speed bumps, going over the horrid pavement, accelerating and weaving all over, I had found my bike.

It’s a ridiculous amount to pay for a bike, but I now see why people have them. The ride is incredible. They handle completely differently than what I’m used to. I thought that whole thing of aluminum versus carbon was just a gimmick to get people to buy higher priced bikes, but after actually riding one then the other on the same road conditions there is a noticeable difference. One is good. The other is excellent.

I went all in.

Steve worked up a complete package for me – bike, cages, bottles, pedals, bag and toolkit. We put it all together right then and there. We then loaded it into the car so I could go home and ride it some more.

Which I did.


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