A couple of years ago, in an effort to keep fit, I bought a hybrid bike and cycled to work a couple of times a week. It was a great ride: 32 kilometres each way, 10 of them through the Gatineau Park, with lovely rolling hills. It was a great workout that I looked forward to.
Most of the time.
My bike was comfortable, but it was heavy, sluggish. I would watch people on their road bikes pass me as though I was standing still. I would look at them sail by, my envy eating at me slowly. And I started cycling less and less.
Last year, I got on my bike only a couple of times: once, for a leisurely ride along the Rideau Canal, with the family; another time, for the Early Bird SwimCycle, for which I hadn't trained and in which I had a dismal ride.
This year, for the National Capital Super Sprint SwimCycle, I trained on my bike for a month, cycling to work a couple of times a week and on the weekends. My office moved locations, which changed the distance to just under 20 kilometres each waystill a respectable ride. I was prepared for the race, even though in the end it didn't happen.
But I had renewed my interest in cycling, even though I was no longer thrilled with my heavy bike. It was time to upgrade.
So after the race, we went bike shopping. Both Lori and I were keen on proper road bikes. We weren't willing to drop a bundle, but we also didn't want to be cheap. We set a ballpark price of $1,000 each. (My old hybrid cost only $400 back in 2008.)
We checked out a couple of shops: Bushtukah, in Westboro, and Kunstadt Sports, near Bank and Heron. Both had a great selection in bikes. Both had knowledgeable staff. Neither shop carried the same brands.
Ultimately, we focused on the bikes at Bushtukah. We really liked Kevin, the salesperson. He was laid back, knew his stuff, and used absolutely no pressure. He was happy to size us up for the bikes and let us take them for a spin. We spent more than three hours with him over the space of two days, and he remained patient. On the second day, I was sold.
Here's my new ride:
I went with a Cannondale Synapse 6 SI compact road bike. Compared with my hybrid, it is incredibly light and quick. It has an aluminum frame and carbon fibre forks. The Shimano Tiagra shifters are integrated with the brakes and are very smooth. It's a dream to ride.
Lori was tempted by a Trek, but in the end she took advantage of our knowledgeable friends-neighbours, Marc and Vicki, and went with an Opus Othello, which she got for a sweet deal at The Cyclery. Very nice.
Vicki warned me that with my new bike, I'd want to ride more often. She was right. I took possession of my bike on Sunday, and so far I've ridden it five times, including a ride to work this morning. At this rate, the savings in fuel will end up paying for the bike by the end of this season.
Here's to my new ride and a renewed love for cycling.