I am a very fortunate cyclist. In the three years I’ve been cycling I’ve managed to amass quite a stable, three older steeds and a new one so awesome, the term “bike porn” doesn’t do photos of it justice. This is the one bike I’d want in heaven.
I’ve spent a veritable butt-load of money on bikes and I’m here to tell you, now that I’ve got my Venge, there’s a difference between loving to ride bikes and riding a bike that I love.
And I do love to ride bikes – my mountain bike is a blast from time to time and I love the Cannondale because it’s old-school and kinda cool. My 5200 is something of a limo of bikes, long, stretched out and smooth but it turns like the Titanic. These were the bikes that got me to love the sport. My Venge, on the other hand, is the bike that I love to ride. It’s light and fast, nimble and stiff, yet smooth.
Old men and young women swoon at the sight of her. Kids stop dead in their tracks and point, mouths agape, at it to show their parents. Just yesterday, my wife and I stopped at Wendy’s during our Friday 20 miler for lunch and an old fella, had to be in his early 80’s walked up and stopped in front of it… His jaw dropped and he turned to me and complimented me on how beautiful it was, then asked if it was “one of those carbon fiber bikes”. I clicked my fingernail on the top tube so he could here the plastic “tink” while answering in the affirmative. Earlier, because my spicy chicken sandwich had to finish cooking, the counter hostess offered to bring it out… She actually made a detour to walk by my bike and said, “man, they’re beautiful” (my steed is so awesome, some of it brushes off on other bikes in its presence, immediately raising the other bike’s status by two or three notches). This is a common occurrence, every time I stop people compliment me on my bike… The funny thing is, I still feel that way about my bike too – every once in a while when I walk by it sitting in its spot in the living room, I stop to gaze at her awesomeness for just a minute.
Everyone should be so lucky to enjoy their favorite bike the way I do mine. Alas, most people will go through life thinking “a bike is just a bike”. While there is some truth to that, it is from the saddle that I stay healthy, see the world, share spectacular rides with my wife and learn to dig deeper than I thought I could. It’s atop that bike that I’ll climb mountains, on purpose, and like it. I’ve spent more than 550 hours in the last couple of years on the saddle of a bicycle (662 since June 2011) and I’ve finally, three bikes later, picked a bike that I love to ride.
Now, if I had to do this all over again, I doubt I’d change anything. Far better to spend $400 on a bike to discover that I love cycling than spend several thousand to find I don’t. Now that I know this is how I want to stay fit though, I can affirm: Far better to ride a bike that I love than to only love to ride bikes. If you’re a new cyclist, love the sport, and are in the market for a bike, don’t settle for anything less than the very best that you can afford – and make sure you like the looks of it (if you’re so inclined). I swung for the fences and can say with confidence, having a great bike has made the sport all the more enjoyable.