Alanis Morissette would be so proud. Although I wasn’t buried in spoons while desperately in need of a knife, I had gotten my fancy new toy at a most inopportune time. Yep, my bike finally arrived from Milwaukee! It made the trip, but not without delay. As you are all aware, the Polar Vortex did a number on us this week. As I stalked the bike’s every movement, via the FedEx tracking site, I got a little worried when it failed to show up as scheduled on Monday. At some point, the truck magically disappeared somewhere between here and Toledo. Thankfully, by Tuesday afternoon, the package made its way to the house. Just in time for windchills in the -30’s. Great day for a bike.
Some assembly required...
Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about staring at my new toy - all sad and unable to use it, due to weather. Nope, I noticed that the box my bike came in was considerably smaller than any adult sized bike I had ridden before. Clearly, there was some assembly required. Despite knowing nothing about bike assembly, I was undaunted. Over the next few days, I picked up a couple tools and set in. How hard could it be? When I opened the package, I noticed that the bike shop included everything. There was even an extra set of pedals and, get this, a totally free extra piece. For some reason, they threw in the metal faceplate from an electrical outlet box. Since the package DIDN’T include any instructions, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this. I’m thinking it is part of some kind of a riddle and the answer will dawn on me a few hundred miles into enjoying my new bike.
I have to build my shoes?
Once I finally got the courage to dig in, assembly was actually pretty easy. The wheels, handlebars, and cyclery knick-knacks all went together without much trouble. Perhaps the most difficult part of the installation was putting the shoes together so I could use the clipless pedals. Clipless pedals… These are going to need their own blog post in the future. Anyhow, I was pretty proud of taking on the job of bike mechanic on my day off, but I did not know that I would also get to play town cobbler. After about 45 minutes assembling the bike, and another hour building my sweet new shoes, I was ready to ride. Well almost. It seems that the air for the back tire was left wherever the instruction manual was. So after borrowing a bike pump from the neighbor, THEN I was ready to ride.
The Test Ride
The first test ride went pretty well. Luckily for me, the Polar Vortex from earlier in the week had departed and left us with temps near 50. What better weather to go for a test ride than mid-40’s with melting ice and slush? It was great. The whole family joined me for a quick jaunt through the neighborhood. The kids bundled up. My son hung his FM radio on his handlebar, so we could rock out to some Top 40 hits. The Wife even humored me, but made a point of reminding me how ridiculous a family bike ride was in February. So we kept it short. The bike felt great. Smooth. Super light. Definitely a different ride than my mountain bike. And it felt fast. I liked it a lot, but there was one thing I had a hard time getting used to. I couldn’t pedal and turn the wheel too sharp without hitting my feet against the front wheel. I assumed that this was simply a result of the different frame geometry. Apparently, road bikes must have bigger wheels or shorter wheelbases, or maybe you were meant to go so fast on the bike that you would never need to turn the wheel much – just lean into the turns. Nope. After consulting the all-knowing google, I found that the rookie assembling the bike had set up the handlebars with the fork facing backwards. It was a quick fix and now the bike really rides nice, now!
So my next challenge will be finding the time for longer training rides. I may even have to resort to a trainer so I can ride in the basement until spring gets here. I can’t wait to pedal alongside The Wife on her treadmill so we can both spend hours racing to nowhere while watching Bravo. My other goal is to figure out these clipless pedals. On the up side, I have figured out how to get OUT of them. But getting my feet locked in has proven to be quite the challenge. Luckily I have lots of time to figure it out. I’m just excited to actually have something to ride other than the big-wheel I found on craigslist. Be sure to check back in soon. I hope to update as soon as I spend some serious time in the saddle. Or when I find cool new stuff to upgrade on my bike. Or when The Wife changes the Amazon password and takes away my credit card. Either way, more to follow!