April 18, 2023

Ride Like A Girl: Bike Days

When I started riding bikes again after a lot of years of not riding bikes I was like most moms,  I did not want to spend the money on a bike for myself even though the rest of my family were riding nice mountain bikes.  In my mind, someone who is a weekend rider did not need a “fancy” bike. (Funny to think about this now that cycling is a central part of my life.)

In the beginning of my return to riding I was not interested in taking biking too seriously.. I had zero desire to do mountain bike rides that could end with me covered in bumps and bruises. And the last thing I wanted was to be needy or take away bicycle funds from the two riders in my home who were passionate about racing mountain bikes.

My solution was to borrow a bike.  It was a Specialized (shhh don’t tell anyone in the shop).  It was a tank. It had rim brakes.  It didn’t fit my miniature stature.  And it had WAY too many gears which were completely intimidating.  Every time I shifted gears the bike made so much noise I just stopped shifting altogether (who else has had this experience?) I won’t even tell you how many times I dropped the chain on the trail. Fixing a chain on the trail is probably the first repair I had to learn. I almost said forget it, but my people were encouraging and I wanted to be a part of the fun they were having.  (FOMO - fear of missing out is legit)

After watching me silently suffer - sometimes not so silently - on my borrowed tank, my family unit found a used Trek X-caliber for me.  The upgrade to a newer bike suddenly made riding a mountain bike fun - really fun.  

On my very first ride it was clear to me that I was on a much better bike.  It was lighter, it shifted better, and I was much more comfortable because it also fit little ol’ me.

These improvements were game changers on the trail.  More importantly they were confidence building.  

Up until my guys talked me into investing in this bike - and it took A LOT of coercing because I was naïve about the difference between a bike shop bike and a department store bike - not that the Specialized tank was even that - It was just old.  What I did not believe was that the quality of parts and bike mattered. It was just a bicycle.

Buying that X-Caliber opened up cycling to me in a way I was not expecting.  Suddenly all the frustration I was experiencing on my rides became manageable because I was riding a bike that actually worked like it was supposed to.  Imagine that?

Suddenly I was tackling new terrain and begging the fam for bike trips.

Fast forward a few years and my personal bike collection has become embarrassing. The simple things like the bike actually fitting me and a drivetrain that works properly are not as simple as they seem.  Bikes are actually pretty complicated machines.  Even if you only ride every now and then the quality of what you ride can make a HUGE difference in whether you actually enjoy yourself or not.  

There are certain aspects of cycling that just are what they are - like climbing.  My friend Daisy says it’s hard for everyone - we suffer together.  You can’t take out ALL the roots on a mountain biking trail or it isn’t really mountain biking.  But, having a bike that is made for the type of riding you want to do on it matters as it contributes to the ride being more comfortable overall - which means the ride will be more enjoyable.  Having a bike that changes gears like it is supposed to in the middle of a climb can mean making it to the top without having to get off the bike.  The weight of a bike can make a big difference in how far or how long you can ride.  Cheap bikes and old bikes are made with heavy materials and often cheaply made parts that you then have to pedal.  

It took some convincing and now, I am admittedly a bike princess.  I don’t skimp on quality if I can help it.  I buy the best I can afford.  And, before I worked at a bike shop I talked to the people who were the most invested in me having the best experience - my local bike shop - where the employees also love bike riding and are invested in it personally.

Not everyone is out to win all the races nor are they looking to be the best - I certainly am not.  That’s alright.  There is still a bike for everyone.  That conversation starts the second you walk through the door of our shop, whether you are bringing a bike for a tune up or looking for that just right new bike.  Here at The Hub Bicycles we are most interested in helping you do what is right for you and your riding goals - which is the best part of the job.   Obviously we love bikes, but we also love our customers. Come talk to us.  Let us help you create memories.