Friday, April 3, 2009

What a difference

I have never been a huge proponent of spending a lot of money on bike gear. Like I have said many times, I want biking to be a simple part of my life. The act of riding a bike is pretty simple and I think that's why many people are drawn to it. Maybe we have so many complicated projects, relationships, and schedules in our lives that sometimes we just want to get on a bike, pedal and forget about everything else.

That being said, this week I have come to appreciate the value of having a decent bike. In the world of mountain bikes, mine was relatively cheap at $600. I did get it for half price, because it was an older model, but even at $1200 that is still on the low end of bike prices. But compared to the $50 bike that I used as my snow bike last winter, the bike I ride now is awesome.

I sold my old bike (pictured at the top) to my friend Laura, who moved to Alaska in September, for 25 dollars. So Wednesday we went out for an easy ride with the dogs and she kept falling way behind. This is a recovery week for me, so I was already riding realy slow. She complained of sliding tires and just generally feeling uncomfortable. I decided to switch with her to find out what the problem was.

Woah. This bike sucks. It just feels bad to sit on. You have to work really hard to pedal and you still feel like your going nowhere. I tried ALL OF THE GEARS. They all suck. I asked her how she felt on my bike and she said, "Great!" Then I felt bad and didn't make her switch back for the rest of the ride. My recovery ride turned into a real workout. I'm starting to understand why I was so slow last winter.

I guess I was wrong. I used to say that you don't need to spend a lot of money on bikes to have fun, and that is still true. But if you ride a lot and you don't want to cripple yourself by the time you are 40, you should probably spend the money and get a decent bike.


Tim said...

The good news is that it's no more complicated to buy a good bike than a bad one -- it just costs more. Once you get the ride bike and have it set up the way you like it, a little maintenance here and there keeps life pretty simple.

And a good piece of equipment makes any activity easier and more fun.

Julie said...

Yes, but expensive equipment doesn't always mean a better experience. Sometimes it's not worth it to spend the money. For example, I find that I climb much better in 5 dollar work gloves than I do in the Ice Climbing gloves that Black Diamond sells for $80. I like to try out the cheaper versions first. As far as bikes go, I'm now convinced it makes a difference.