Step 2 in my journey into cycling was finding a bike. Daunting! I live on the North Shore and did you know there are over 14 bike stores on this side of the water?! Calculate in all the stores in Vancouver proper and needless to say I really didn’t know where to begin. What type of bike? Size? Make? Do-hickey thingies (aka “components”)? What happens if I buy a bike and it sucks? What if it’s too uncomfortable? What if…what if…what if…? Too many questions. I decided to take a step back and do something that I know…Shoes! I needed to buy biking shoes and that was something I was very familiar with.
I headed to this bike store down the way. I walked into nirvana…or should I call it Obsession (on lower Lonsdale @ 1st). Within 30 seconds of entering the store Andrew was at my side and helping me with shoes. He asked a few questions about what my needs were. My answer …comfort. If I am going to be logging some serious peddle time I want some damn comfortable shoes…and if they are cute, all the better. I ended up getting some mid-upper range shoes (about $200) because that is what felt best (I have flippers for feet) and black so they are slimming (making my size 11’s look itsy-bitsy and rather sporty). My take away message: Make sure the shoe fits well across the toe box and that it “sucks” your heel down into the shoe.
As our chat progressed James entered the scene (add a shining haloesque light behind him). This man ROCKS! I told him of my road cycling virginity and my goal of breaking said cherry with the RBC GranFondo Whistler. Let me back track and say when previously trying to buy a bike, all I heard when talking to a sales person was “blahblahblah-bike-blahblahblah-bike-blahblahblah”. I wouldn’t call myself stoopid but sometimes coming out of a bike store I would feel like I needed to go back to university to get a degree in Bike Talk. James was amazing. 5 minutes into meeting him he had me on a bike and testing it out. Apparently, when buying a bike it’s all about the “fit”. No Bikenese…just straight talk about what I needed.
I sat spinning on a sleek black bike (my 5’ 10”, wide shouldered frame is best on a guy’s bike…oh to feel like a girly girl for once! For those women plus 150 lbs and over 5’ 10” look into a men’s bike and get the handlebars fitted for your shoulder width. I am riding a 56” with a smaller set of bars). As I sat riding, James tipped me off that my hunched over, Neandrotholic stance wasn’t the way to go. Rotate this…bend this…head up…shoulders back…by the end of it I was feeling like I could give Lance Armstrong a run for his money…or at least his small change. I’m thinking a biking group/class might be on the horizon. My old style of just hopping on a bike and “givin’er” ain’t going to work. It seems like there is a style and finesse to road cycling.
Next thing I know James had me out on the road on this rocket of a bike. Seriously?! You want me to what??! Yup…I was out road riding. (Side bar: if you are thinking of going out and buying a bike I recommend blocking out a good section of time. I was Obsessed for a few hours and every minute was packed with useable info. Wear appropriate clothing and be ready to ride. This is what a great bike shop does…it gets you measured, fitted, and out testing the bike.) A quick 15-minute jaunt and I was hooked. These machines are like bullets…Carbon fiber bullets! Inexpensive bikes are made of aluminium and are a titch heavier than carbon fiber but that being said you will always be able to find a bike in your price range.
When I got back to Obsession, James hooked me up with another bike. Time to comparison shop. Now this one was “it”! The first bike was great but…and you know it’s all about the “but”…the second one swept me off my feet…literally! I kind of compare bike shopping to finding a mate. Yes…the guy was nice…you had fun…cute…snazzy dresser…but something was just missing. But the next guy you date…HOT DAMN! When you find the right guy or girl there is just magic. This is what I felt with #2 bike. Smooth…cute…super fun…responsive…and felt great underneath me (giggle). So as akin to finding a mate, when looking for a bike…mount it and take it for a spin (double giggle). One may seem like a right fit but until you ride a few you won’t know that you might be missing out on “Mr. Right Ride”. This is what I loved about James and Obsession. Everyone who walked into the store was asked questions and either plonked onto a bike or measured and “fitted”.
So, in the end, this fairy tale has an ending. I have a Specialized Roubaix. Black, white, with a hint of red…super shiny…and a whooole lotta fun. I would like to thank my matchmakers, James, Matt, and Andrew for hooking/fitting me up with my new boyfriend. I am looking forward to long rides along the beach and romantic getaways to Cypress Mountain and Iona Road. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Now to get my husband to give me a weeeeee bit if an increase in the budget…hmmm…I wonder what I can do…