Bike upgrades all around

Erin and I decided we need to ride our bikes more. So we’ve invested some money in bike upgrades! We started by purchasing a second “trailer arm” for our Chariot carriers, so we can use both simultaneously. The girls are too big to ride in the double comfortably for long distances. Even on the short ride to and from preschool, they start to bump elbows and get a little chirpy. Now Erin and I can each pull a stroller, giving both girls more room and providing extra space for snacks and the like. We did our first “family ride” after school this week.

We also bought a used bike for Madelyn. Her “new” Trek is a considerable upgrade from the hand-me-down she had been riding.

Madelyn's new bike

The improved bike raised Madelyn’s interest immediately. (Streamers and flowers FTW!) She’s asked to ride after school several days this week, even going around Compton Park with Erin once. That’s a half-mile loop. Getting a little new bling doesn’t hurt, either. We got Madelyn a new helmet–the same size as Erin’s. Our kid has a big head!

So now Amelia gets a “new” bike, since Madelyn’s hand-me-down will be passed down one more time. Frankly, this bike isn’t great, but for tooling around the driveway or going on a walk it’ll be fine.

Amelia's "new" bike

We picked up a new scooter for the girls to share, too. It’s been a hit.

Dora scooter

I’ve also upgraded my ancient (2001?) Specialized hybrid by adding a rear rack and Topeak MTX TrunkBag DXP. My commute is very short (two miles) but grocery shopping with a backpack isn’t much fun. With the panniers, I can do much better. The bag slides into a track on the rack, so it’s easy to get on and off (no fiddling with bungee cords) and very secure. Last weekend I carried seven bottles of wine in the TrunkBag with no problem. With the addition of fenders, a kick stand, and a high-quality headlight (and maybe some other bling), I’ll have a fine all-weather commuter and cargo bike.

This is possible because I’ve finally bought a road bike, a Trek 1.5T. (Madelyn likes it too!)

Bradley's new bike

Erin and I went to Bickel’s in Burlington to make this purchase. Tyler Bickel, the owner, helped me as Erin looked at bikes as well. Erin’s not ready to get a second bike yet, but will probably do so before the end of the year. She’s currently riding a Jamis mountain bike which weighs about 100 lbs. (My estimate.)

I rode four Treks. The 1.5 definitely felt smoother than the 1.2 I’d ridden in Macomb, both in ride and when shifting, and the brakes were much more responsive. But I had a hard time differentiating the 1.5 and the more expensive 2.1. So that made picking pretty easy. I went for the triple as opposed to the compact, since I shift a lot and ride hills as often as I can. Settled on 58cm after going back and forth with the 60cm several times. Erin insisted on a red bottle cage. Yes, I’m boring. I added clipless pedals and shoes (size 49!) and a new helmet (badly needed).

After we got home I took the bike out for the first time, riding 16 miles. I shaved a minute off my best time for that particular loop despite starting out way too fast and slowing frequently to diddle with gears and the like. Getting into the pedals takes a while for me, but I really like the clipless better than toe clips. Even on the few sections of chipseal I had to deal with, the Trek rode smoothly, and I’m eager to get in a longer ride this weekend. For the next few weeks, I’m in for some pain as I get used to the clipless pedals and drops instead of bar handlebars. This morning a few “new” muscles asserted themselves. A good problem to have!

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3 Responses to Bike upgrades all around

  1. You have bigger feet than me! I wear a 48. I wrote on FB good idea on the compact, but I see that was wrong. You’ll get used to the clipless. I compare the difference as being like that between downhill and x-country skiing and the bindings. Much more control, much less fatigue over the long run. Once you get used to them, you’ll never go back. Have fun.

  2. cbd says:

    I went back and forth on the compact/triple. Ended up going with three rings since that’s what I’ve ridden forever.

    Oops, the shoes are 49s (corrected above). Got confused… tried on 50s too, but they were “mountain” shoes which were substantially heavier.

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