I’m at a moral dilemma that every person who rides a bike should be so fortunate to have; which bike to take on the first weekend road trip with the cycling buddies in something like two years?
On the one hand I’ve got my old but trusty Trek 5200 that was built for this kind of trip. Long, comfortable classic frame with modern components and a stretched cockpit. It plays well with a Garmin Varia taillight and carries a saddle bag well, mechanically sound, not terribly heavy at 18-1/2 pounds… etc., etc., etc. The main downside is there’s going to be some “up” on this trip, but we’ll get into that in a second. The Trek is also noticeably harder to get down the road than my other choice…
On the other, I’ve got the Venge. With a sleek, low front-end race setup, it’s not exactly built for a long day in the saddle, and there are going to be three of those in a row on this trip. It’s not all that bad on a long day, either. I don’t have a saddle bag for the bike (mainly because a saddle bag looks ugly on a Venge). The gearing is right for a lot of climbing, though (50/34 and 11/28 – it’ll get me up anything where we’re going), and it’s a little tighter mechanically than the Trek – it’s literally perfect as mechanics go. The Venge is also considerably faster and will be slightly easier on me over the weekend, in terms of wattage.
Both bikes have great wheels shod with Specialized Turbo Pro tires, though the Venge’s wheels are a little better, more aero and deeper. With decently warm temps and light single-digit winds all weekend, there’s no question the Venge wins that round unanimously.
It’s not all open and shut, though. In terms of practicality, the Trek wins without a fight. The saddle bag is going to be useful and will mean I’ll have a spare pocket for extra clothing I may need to find a place for once the temps warm up after the chilly morning. However, I’m anticipating an average of about 65 to 70 miles a day over the three-day trip – I think I might just want all the help I can get from the bike I choose. And that’s really where the choice becomes elementary. I’m in really good shape this year, but I’m not quite there yet. When I walked out the door this morning the Venge made the most sense. I was certain I should take all the help I can get and save the Trek for DALMAC later this year.
Then, by the time I got to the office this morning I couldn’t help but remember the Trek is the perfect bike for a trip like this… this is what I built it for, after all.