Riding My Asterisk Off

…one mile at a time…

Went into a bike shop in nearby Davis to look at bikes, told the kid there what kind of riding I do, the distances I shoot for, and that I need to be upright because this old body is not leaning over drop bars. He immediately thought of several possibilities and we took a couple of bikes outside to test ride, one by one.

The first one I tested felt so much better than my old Raleigh, but the bars were a bit far forward and I was on my hands harder than I’m comfortable with. But, bonus, the bars and stem are quite easily adjustable, and with a few tweaks, that bike felt amazing.

The next one I tried was a Specialized step-thru, the color was spiffy, and the grips felt good. All in all, it was a close match to the first bike, but there was something about the first that edge it out a bit. The ease of adjusting the bars is part of it, I think, and the bars are also a little bit wider (men’s frame versus women’s, maybe) which worked better for my broader shoulders.

There were variations on the theme–lots of bikes that fit the parameters of what I was looking for, but the price point on these two bikes was what I was willing to spend on what I hope is just a starter bike. For just under $500 I got a bike almost as comfy as the Pedego (and with bike shorts I think it will be equitable) and that I can really work with.

Marin Larkspur City-Sport Two

As soon as we got it home, we slapped a bottle cage on it and a Garmin mount, and headed out for a shake-down ride. I honestly thought I would struggle, that my heart rate would skyrocket and a couple miles in I would have to stop, but we did five and I could have done more if not for my achign asterisk and sore hands.

The seat is not as cushy as the one on my ebike, but it’s not a torture device, either. I’ll get used to it. The bars might need to come up a half inch still, or moved toward me a touch more, but I’ll adjust to that, too. It felt a lot like going from a cruiser motorcycle to a semi-sportsbike–hurts at first, but you adapt.

And here’s where getting someone who really knows what they’re doing fit a bike to you: my knees didn’t hurt at all during that five miles. Not to say they won’t, but I really expected that starting from a stop would bring about quite a bit of pain, but it didn’t.

The plan from here is to start every bike ride on this one, get a minimum of five miles in (that will go up) and when I’m done, go home and get the Pedego for the rest of the miles. It’s too much fun to not ride.

And oh man, I was so slow on the Marin…slower than I used to be on a road bike. I think I averaged about 9mph when I used to do around 12 (which was still slow) and I only topped 10 when going down an incline. There was a subtle difference in my heart rate; today I averaged about 125 on the Marin, 120 on the Pedego afterward. The main thing is I hit the 120s much sooner on the Marin and kept it there; it took me a good 3-4 minutes longer to get into the 120s on the Pedego. Over 5 miles I burned 300 calories on the Marin, and only 150 in the next 5 on the Pedego.

That takes nothing away from the progress I made on the Pedego; I lost 30 pounds riding it. But I might burn more now, which is what I really want.

So, we’ll see.

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