Monday, April 6, 2009

What to Ride?

This is the question of the day, or in my case, the year. I've been bike shopping, albeit a bit lazily, since sometime around Christmas. I've visited 5 locally-owned bike shops in San Francisco, ridden half a dozen touring bikes, and come out just a bit more educated and sure of the prospects than I was at the beginning.

Every time I throw a leg over my Fuji Club Fuji, my $10 10-speed that is actually a $10 12-speed circa 1979, I have two simultaneous thoughts: 1) God, I love this bike and 2) I need to get a new bike.

I'm thinking I'm going to purchase a new touring bike because I've never undertaken a bicycle adventure like Ride 350 and the experts all tell me that a touring bike is what I want. I trust experts (unless they're economists). While Ride 350 will be supported, I want a bike that will be able to shepherd a hefty load when I get addicted to this type of travel. I'm relatively sure of this outcome. I also get most of my riding done around the streets of San Francisco. They're bike friendly streets to be sure, but they're not without their potholes. So I need a tank. Something that can take a regular beating and keep coming back.

Don't take it personal, carbon fiber, but you and me are cut from different cloth. Sure, you're fast and light and you've got interesting curves, but your sexiness makes you delicate and high-maintenance too. I'm more of an "ain't broke don't fix it" kind of guy, and last time I checked, steel tubing weren't broke.

So a touring bike seems the logical choice. Today the decision is a toss up between the Trek 520 (pictured here), the Bianchi Volpe (the choice of a few close friends), and the Masi Speciale Randonneur (an unknown yet likeable option). I'm learning all about new things, a new language almost, like double-butted chromoly steel, front and rear fender mounts, integrated/cantilever shifters vs. the old bar end work horses, and the benefits of braze-ons. Just yesterday I soaked up the sermon of leather saddle comfort like an Evangelical back from a bachelor party in Las Vegas.

I understand that the bike I will eventually really love is out there. I just have to put in the effort to find it. But that means shopping. And that's where my lack of dedication kicks in. I tell myself that I can't afford to spend the better part of a Saturday cruising the Mission trying on bicycles. I've got better things to do.

But the truth is I'm reluctant to leave the Club Fuji behind. We've had so many good times together, just shopping for a new bike kind of feels like I'm cheating on the old girl. I've often said the beauty of an old bike is that if it happened to get stolen, I'd walk away grief-free. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. And so the quest to find a new bike, and break myself from a solid relationship with the old one, continues on.

1 comment:

Lily said...

I <3 Club Fuji.

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