I’ve written a lot about my bike, probably a little too much but what’s a cycling blogger to do when he’s been upgrading his so much?
The simple truth is that I’m treating cycling as my reaction to the idea that a guy needs a midlife crisis and if so, cycling is the perfect, healthy option. I get the whole “sports car” side of it with my bikes for a tenth the investment up front, a twentieth the cost of fuel and a thousandth the cost of maintenance. If that wasn’t sexy enough (it is), I get to stay fit in the process. However, while the bike stuff is fun and cool, cycling is more than just a bike.
I put in 43 miles with my wife between Friday and Saturday. We spent most of the time side by side on country roads talking, laughing and enjoying the sunshine and countryside.
Last night I called my friend Mike and we set up a ride for 30 miles this morning. It was slightly below freezing this morning, frost covered everything, when the sun peaked up over the trees. I was decked out in my cold weather gear and out the door at 8:00. We rode due west for something like 15 miles talking and enjoying the morning. Granted, it was cold but with the sun on the rise the cold was bearable. We headed south for a ways then turned back east. Then north for a stretch that I’ve never ridden… We climbed a couple of decent hills before hitting a four mile stretch of rollers that was a nice net downhill… We averaged around 24 mph down that stretch (never dropped below 21after that initial climb, even on the uphill sections). After that fun stretch we calmed back down simply enjoying the ride home. With about five to go we noticed another friend of ours tending to his farm equipment so we stopped to say hi. Ten minutes later and we were on our way again, fourteen more and I was thanking Mike for an excellent 40 mile ride. He thanked me for calling him up and pressing him into riding together.
I pulled into my driveway worked and on top of my world.
This weekend, spending time with my wife and friends, cranking out the miles enjoying the sunshine, freedom, fresh air and fitness… That’s what cycling is all about.
Call the spectacularly beautiful midlife crisis machine icing on the cake.
UPDATE: Andy, the OmniRunner, wondered (in the comments) how I could possibly call my enthrallment with cycling a ‘midlife crisis’ when I’m “having the time of (my) life”…
When you’re right, you’re right. I’m going to have to try to come up with a witty change because a “crisis” this is not.
My Aerofly handlebar showed up weeks early on Friday so I obviously got my bike over to the shop to have it installed… Immediately.
After the first 20 miles I can say this, carbon bars are a lot more comfortable than aluminum. As you would expect if you’ve ridden both aluminum and carbon fiber bikes, the carbon bar absorbs road chatter while aluminum transfers everything right to your arms and hands. Now, please consider that I’ve got upwards of 15,000 miles on three different aluminum drop bars. In other words, I know what aluminum bars feel like and carbon feels much better. While riding I couldn’t help but think someone with arthritis in the hands would love a C/F bar.
Additionally, I’d love to tell you that I’ve maxed out my potential as a cyclist and I actually need the extra 26 seconds over 40 km Specialized advertises is saves compared with a standard drop bar and that’s why I plunked down the three hundred bucks for the bar – but I’d be lying. Here’s the truth:
I bought the bar because it a) looks awesome and b) would make my already awesome aero race bike awesomer. And aeroer. Um, yeah, that. In other words, will I notice a difference if I’m riding just barely under one second per mile faster? Of course not.
On the other hand, when you consider time savings for the bike and bar I’m looking at 1m:11s over 40 km – now that’s something (Specialized says 45 seconds on the Venge over a Tarmac and 26 on the bars). Do the math, on a century that’s five minutes!
Still, it just looks cool on the bike.
UPDATE 2016: Okay, I’ve got six or seven thousand miles on the Aerofly handlebar and I still love it. I’ve got an aluminum drop bar on my Trek and the carbon bar is absolutely more comfortable over the long haul. HOWEVER, riding on the bar tops just doesn’t feel right. I still can’t get used to it, especially climbing. That said, it’s still a sexy handlebar, well as sexy as a handlebar can be. I’d buy it all over again, and that’s what matters.