I ended up buying a bike this weekend. I know it's probably a little surprising to hear me say that being that I had admitted in this blog about a month ago that I was having trouble committing to biking and then was both manic and all over the map about the subject since.
Was it somewhat of a impulsive buy? Yes. But I will argue that it was strategically impulsive. That is to say that a) I knew I was going to buy a bike this spring/summer; b) I had previously allocated the funds for the purchase; and c) I had been doing my research. Plus I am sure I love triathlon more than I am unsure about loving the bike. So it's always been in the cards to will my way into enjoying cycling.
By last Monday, I had it narrowed down to 3 models. Then throughout the week I went to each bike's page on the web to view each bike and review (again) the specs. On Friday, I test rode my top 3, then thought about it Friday night and then again during my Saturday morning run. I bought it Saturday afternoon, and had a fitting today.
To date, it's the 3rd single biggest purchase I have made, after a house and a car. Granted, it's a distant 3rd, but it's still a little unnerving. As rad as I think my local bike shop is, it still felt a bit like going to the car dealership this time. That said, all the sales people are dressed better, and I didn't feel the need to shower after I left. There was also none of the dreaded "finance department" stuff, in that at no time was I offered gap insurance or an under chassis spray sealer. And I don't recall being subjugated to one insincere smile. And instead of crappy filter coffee, the bike shop is fitted out with a nice new espresso maker.
Speaking of the espresso maker, that's one of the things I am really starting to appreciate about cycling. Being that cycling is so steeped in European culture, the sport is classy and relaxed. I never feel guilty if during a longer ride I stop and take a break, get a coffee, whatever. When in Rome (or Paris, or Vienna), do as the Romans (or Parisians or Viennese) do.....right? I'd certainly never consider a stop like this on a run, that's for sure. Plus there is some familiarity. I've spent plenty of time doing nothing in a cafe in Madrid. I've worked really hard doing nothing in Budapest. And I've had my picture taken with a guy in a polar bear suit at the foot of a Swiss glacier. Not that any of these things tie into cycling, but you know what I mean. And I'm sure you'd agree the polar bear thing is cool.
Oh yeah, the bike. I ended up going with the Specialized Transition Comp TT/triathlon bike. Below is a picture of me on the new bike riding by my house feeling super self-conscious as my wife snapped off a few pictures.
Why a triathlon bike? I thought about this quite a bit, and in the end I figured my current bike is good enough as the all purpose road bike. Seeing that I've replaced almost all the components anyway, I'll keep an eye open for a good deal on a used frame and rebuild it at some point into a sweeter ride.
Plus, since my math and analytic skills far outweigh my athletic skills, I have calculated that assuming a moderate improvement in swimming (and based on historical results of upcoming races), a 3-4 mph improvement on the bike will help tremendously with my goal, which is to be a consistent to 1/3rd finisher in my AG.
To start testing my data, I took the bike for a spin this afternoon. It's certainly more twitchy and unforgiving handling wise than my road bike. I also feel like it's too small, even though the fit guy insists it isn't. I guess this all comes down to me getting used to the radical geometrical changes. I need to work on my aero position quite a bit for both form and endurance. But even riding upright on the pursuit bars, it's already a much speedier bike.
So there you go. I'll probably go through a bout of buyers remorse (I always do), but in the end I think it was a good investment.
At a minimum, I definitely felt I was getting checked out more at stop lights. Of course that feels a teeny bit good. And even with the added pressure of an audience, I still managed to not screw up getting my cleats back into the pedals when it was time to take off. So that's a good sign, too.