Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Mean Road Machine

I’ve always liked my Specialized Sequoia Elite bicycle, but now that I’ve had a few things changed, I like it even more.

I had never taken advantage of the dropped handlebars this road bike came with, always holding them on top with my hands too close together for stability. (OK, MediaConcepts – I hear you saying, “Why do you need to hold on at all?” But I do.) I also had always thought the gear shift levers to be a pain in the neck with no indication of what gear I was in. The rear view mirror I had never stayed in place and was usually pointing at the sky.

I asked the people at Spokes about the possibility of changing this and they said it would cost a fortune, basically telling me to live with it the way it was. But at Bikes@Vienna, where my husband bought his new recumbent tricycle, the owner pulled out a catalog of handlebars and gave me several options. Two weeks later he installed the one I chose and it is the perfect answer to my problems. I now have grip shifts. And I have a rear view mirror that works.

After my feeble attempt at learning to use clipless pedals, my husband found these Power Grips on the Internet that accomplishes the same thing without making a prisoner of your foot. No special shoes are required. Your foot can easily slip out before you come to a stop.

My wonderful bike advisor, Ulysses, who seems to have given up on Blogging, had advised me to get the gear range of my bike changed so as to give me a couple of easier gears. Spokes did manage that a couple of months ago and it does make a difference, especially noticeable now that I actually know what gear I am in.

My husband and I went for a bike ride on this picture-perfect day today. We started at Roosevelt Island, went over the Memorial Bridge, rode around Haines Point a few times, and then retraced our steps. It was so nice not to be always playing catch-up. In fact I was in the lead for much of our ride and he was pedaling hard to keep up.

I’m happy with my reworked bicycle. As cute as those trikes are, I’m not yet ready to give up my Sequoia!


Blogger Adrianne said...

This post makes me wants to dust off my bicycle and go for a spin. I got a Specialized hybrid a few years ago, but I hardly ever ride it. When I did ride it, though, Haines Point was my favorite -- it's very flat, there's hardly any traffic, and I dont' have to cross one of the big bridges over the Potomac to get there.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Your bike looks cool. They've built a bike path a block up from my house since we've been gone. If I ever move back into my house I'm going to get a bike with handlebars that enable me to not put weight on my wrists. It will be fun to get back into bikeriding after such a long hiatus.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I wish I had a bike -- since I live in tiny quarters here (and I'm too aesthetically picky to suspend one from the ceiling) I've done without. But I did love biking when I lived in Fla.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Perfect! And what a day for a ride. Sigh. To be footloose and fancy free yet responsible enough to change what doesn't work...

11:41 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Adrianne -- Even crossing Memorial Bridge mid-day was fun. Of course I had to stop and take pictures as the trike with its flag zoomed ahead.

Cyndy -- I'm convinced you can get whatever you want in a bike if you just find a knowledgeable person to help you. Maybe a recumbent bike/trike would be good for you.

Steve -- Maybe you could rent a corner of someone's garage to house a bike. We both thought NYC, and specifically Central Park, would be a great place to ride.

Kristin -- I was pleased that for a relatively small amount of money I fixed everything (except the top bar) that was annoying me. I will just have to continue to tilt the bike to get my leg over when I get on and off. Not so bad.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Mo said...

What a sweet bike :)

And I hear ya--I hated the little death saddles I used to have on my pedals. Too much frantic fumbling, trying to get my foot out as I went crashing into a tree. No thanks.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mo -- I was so much more relaxed riding my bike with the Power Grips, which accomplish the same thing as clipless pedals without the difficulty of getting in and out.

After you named your bike, I am giving serious thought to a name for my evolving Sequoia.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I hop on my balloon tire, one speed (mine), double-cheek seater with a wire basket on the front and a child's bell on the handlebar and poke along the back roads of my town. There are no bike paths, not too much speeding traffic, and when I want to stop I press the peddles. I could no more ride what you ride where you ride than I could fly without wings but I love hearing about your adventures.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Sounds perfect. I was always a bit hesitant to change gears so I usually just use 3 and don't tackle many hills at all. What I don't like is that my head is bent forward because the handle bars are so low, and then my neck is at a sharp angle trying to look up, which hurts after a long bike ride! The seats are so uncomfortable too, even a gel seat with a gel seat cover! Haven't been out on my bike all year due to my knee problems and I've really missed it. It's the best for getting heart rate up....besides running which I'd never attempt!

7:38 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- From what I know of you, you could do just about anything you put your mind to do. If you don't have a lot of hills to climb, your single-speed bike is just fine for getting you to where you want to go!

MOI -- There are ways to fix all those things you mentioned, except perhaps your aching knees!

8:03 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

ride safe please!!

looks like it was a glorious day to ride!!

8:45 AM  

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