Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In for a Penny or a Pound ?

A good bike can last a long time !

A good friend is taking her first steps into cycling. This is a delicate issue. On the one hand I want her to benefit from years of experience that Hottie and I have and point her toward high quality components, good shorts and shoes and a plethora of other niceties that add up to a bucket load of money. On the other hand, I want to tell her just buy a bike and ride it. As a huge fan of Irony I have to point out that this “just go and do it” philosophy is a hallmark of Rivendell who shuns fancy shorts and shoes. The oddity is that at the same time they tell you to keep it simple, they smile while charging thousands of dollars for only slightly-better-than-average steel framed bikes.

Before the introduction of the compact crank most “entry level” bikes were triples which just exacerbated typically mediocre shifting. This also made selecting the right gearing even more complex. Likewise, if one views cycling as most sports where you want to try it before you invest big dollars, you must REALLY like biking to find it enjoyable with poor shorts (ouch), a cheap seat (ouch again) and marginal bike performance. As I recall my own humble beginnings I just swung my leg over and rode. I also recall the wonderment as I got better shorts (ahhhh) and a high quality saddle (a miracle under my ass). When I built up a bike with Ultegra components, I felt the shifting was being assisted by the hand of God. The wonderful news is that the mid and low end components of today are so much better than they were even a few years ago. It is hard to go wrong here in 2010.

Clothing is also such a critical component to riding enjoyment !

So we face the dilemma of convincing our friend to spend twice what she planned, or telling her to tough it out. She isn’t a size where we can loan her much besides an earband, and I’m not aware of any Giordana loaner program so I’ll keep an eye out and let you all know later.

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