Sunday, May 18, 2014

Frustrations...and a new bike!

What a week.  Monday wasn't too bad.  Too busy to ride that day.  Tuesday, I set out for a nice 20+ miler, but 8 miles in, on a quiet country road, my crappy rear derailleur malfunctioned and long-story-short I ended up with a broken chain. 8 miles from home.  At 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon.  I spent about 5 minutes going through my phone trying to figure out who I could call that would not only be available to rescue me, but also have a car that could transport my bike.  Luckily, one of my good friends who also cycles and has a bike rack on his car, was able to come get me.

Broken bike...with the chain lying on the ground.

To add to my frustration, after I got home I opened some mail from the insurance company to discover that the physical therapy place "may bill me up to $105 for each visit."  I'm not even going to go back and try to count how many visits I've had to that place...but I'm dreading the day that bill comes in the mail. That cost, plus the fact that my foot is not showing any improvement, is really discouraging.

Back to Broken Bike...I just put a bunch of money into it a couple of weeks ago, new tires, a new front derailleur, and a couple of random little maintenance things it needed.  I was going to get the whole shifting system replaced, because it needed it, but it turned out that the rear derailleur was built into the bike frame in such a way that it could not be replaced.  So I had to make do with really unreliable shifting.  While that bike was getting worked on, I borrowed a road bike from the shop.  The road bike took a lot of getting used to, drop handlebars make me feel really off balance, as well as putting a lot of pressure on my back where it's weak/out of alignment from an old injury.  Once I learned that my bike was not ever going to be very efficient, I toyed with the idea of buying the road bike.  I didn't really want to spend the money, but I also wanted a bike that wouldn't constantly be needing tweaks and repairs.

The decision was made for me when my bike decided to malfunction and die 8 miles from home.  I'm going to get it fixed at some point, because it is kinder to my back and because I can take it on the river trail, unlike a road bike.  But, if I'm going to continue biking a lot, I need a reliable bike.  So, I picked up the road bike the next day.  For keeps.

New Bike 

My back has not been happy with me since I got the new bike.  I was only able to do short rides, and it was really painful to stand up straight as I got off the bike because my back was locked into position.  I took yesterday off to let my back rest, and then today I went out for a long ride.  I stood up on a lot of little hills that I would normally sit for, and spent some time on the straight bars instead of in the drops or on the hoods, and that helped take pressure off my back.  I ended up getting 34 miles today, which I was not expecting to be able to do, so I was happy about that. With today's ride, I doubled my mileage for the week, ending up at 67.7 miles.  My back is sore, but it wasn't as bad during the ride as it had been earlier in the week. I'm going back to the bike shop tomorrow to really get fitted to the bike, I think the seat needs to come forward a bit, and we may change the stem as well.  Hopefully I will soon be as comfortable on this bike as I was on Broken Bike, and I can get back to exploring and finding out just how far I can ride.  

On the bright side, New Bike makes mountain climbs seem like a joke compared to how they felt on Broken Bike.  So much easier!  It helps having reliable shifting.  The old one rarely let me use the smallest chain ring in the front.  

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