Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stacks of bikes

Date: June 5
Mileage: 21.4
June mileage: 71.6
Temperature upon departure: 51

Today I returned home from a bike ride to find every other bicycle in the house strewn all over the yard. It turns out there was an unfortunate sewage incident in the storage room. The plumber had dispatched many of the contents of the room wherever they fell in the back yard, which made for a scene right out of Kentucky Homes and Gardens. (I later learned he cleared out the room before the pipe burst all over the place, which made me feel both relieved that my bikes weren't covered in sewage, and also irked that they would be treated like that in the first place.) But my first thought, upon seeing a yard full of overturned bikes is, "Wow. I own way too many bikes."

I just happened to be returning from a ride on Geoff's road bike, the closest thing we have to a "real" road bike. Before my whole knee debacle really settled in, I was seriously considering purchasing my own roadie this year. And when I found the rear tire on my bike flat - again - I thought it was about time to see how I felt about drop bars, rail-skinny tires any any other seemingly frivolous feature that supposedly eats up pavement.

The first thing I noticed was that Geoff has his clipless pedals set much tighter than mine.

The second thing I noticed was that I couldn't steer to save my life with my hands down in the drops.

The third thing I noticed was that the brakes were nowhere in reach while I was hunched in that position.

The fourth thing I noticed was an oncoming curb, in just enough time to narrowly advert tragedy.

The fifth thing I noticed, after finally coming to terms with my precarious situation, is that I couldn't get a single good stroke out of my legs. I felt like I was pedaling in water, going slower than I typically do riding pavement on my 2.7" treaded tire snow bike, and I just couldn't manage the speed. I did 20 miles like I was riding into wind, although there was none. It was a truly disappointing first encounter with a true "road" bike.

It makes me wonder if I've never developed the specific leg muscles for that position. Maybe in all of the mountain/touring bike riding I've done, sitting high and happy on flat handlebars, I've progressed in such a way that all of my power relies on high and happy muscles. This theory would hold more water if I'd actually done enough high and happy riding in the past few months to develop any of my muscles. But still ... why would a bike built specifically for speed specifically make me slower?

Geoff's theory is that he owns a slow bike.

Maybe I just had a bad day.

Either way, after coming home to mountains of mountain bikes and adding Geoff's roadie to the pile, I was able to voice what I already knew. I won't be buying a road bike this year.

These glass-coated roads are way to harsh for those wimpy tires.

And I just (finally) replaced my 7,000-mile chain/cassette on my touring bike. Might as well aim for 7,000 more.

And I already have way too many bicycles.

And, anyway, I need to save up for a real snow bike.