I have to buy a bike. Notice how I said “have to,” not “want to,” not even “need to.”
Erik and I went out this weekend to check out some possible bikes at some shops near where he lives. Our first stop was a cute little bike shop with not a lot of people around, so we were able to get some serious one-on-one attention, trying out bikes in the parking lot. I’m pretty sure Erik had more fun riding around on the bikes than I did – and he already bought his bike last summer! The sales rep showed me a hybrid bike that was as close to a road bike as you could get, so it would be excellent for performance. He also showed me a road bike, which terrified me and I immediately jumped off it without even riding it. They hybrid is a Specialized Vita Sport. I was completely sold on it until the sales rep told me it was backordered. Until August. Which is when my ride is. No good.
I was completely deflated. I thought this entire endeavor was hopeless and if it wasn’t for the fact I’ve been blabbing about it for three months now and already received a handful of donations, I may have actually dropped out of the ride. We went down to the bike shop where Erik purchased his bike, but they only came in one flavor – Trek – and while they looked great and had a good price, I wasn’t completely sold on them.
Miserable and a bit angry (I’m pretty sure I was scaring Erik a bit), we went home and took a nap to recover from the morning disappointments. Later that afternoon, we went down to yet another bike shop recommended by my ride coach, where I checked out a Scott S60. However, this sales rep was a bit of a jerk and wouldn’t even take the bike out of the rack because he didn’t think I was “serious” about finding a bike that day.
When we got home, we chatted with Erik’s roommate, who is practically a professional cyclist. Our conclusions are that:
1) Although I’m incredibly nervous about riding a road bike, so I really wanted to get a hybrid or something with higher handlebars. Some people say a hybrid would be fine for my 30-60 mile trek, while others thing I’ll regret it.
2) I’m a Medium and/or 17.5″. Which is only useful if you’re fitting me for a bike.
3) I should buy pedals and shoes that clip together, to help with the riding, but it’s $200 extra, and I really don’t want to spend that much.
4) Cannondale has been recommended, but I’m not sure which model to look at.
The problem is I don’t know what I’m going to do after the ride. I may want to be a cyclist and join the New Jersey riding club, or I may just want to tool around town or one of the parks with my boyfriend. I don’t know how to make a smart purchase without going overboard or buying a piece of crap.
It’s incredibly frustrating and while I know I will find something that works well, I’m still unsure of what’s the best option for me. If you have any input at all into this whole bike purchasing business, please leave a comment. Also, if you have specific models that I should check out, that would be even better.