The Bicycle I Ride and Why I Chose It

IMG_0832After riding my Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike for nearly 20 years I felt it was time to get a new ride.  While I have to admit I did not do a great deal of research I knew I wanted a bike that was comfortable, stable, and durable even though I can be considered a casual rider.  I ended up purchasing a Diamondback Edgewood Hybrid bike that I felt met my needs.  One thing that makes it comfortable is the adjustable stem that allows me to put the cruiser or riser style handlebars in a position that keeps me in a more upright position.  The main reason I did not consider a road bike was the drop bars put me in more of a forward leaning position that put undo stress on my lower back which sometimes gives me problems.  The Diamondback Edgewood Hybrid bike comes with shimano derailleur and 21 speed drivetrain that worked smoothly from the first time I took to the road.  I do get the shifting and brake cables adjusted annually as part of my maintenance routine.  Note that this bike does not come with a kick stand.  So be prepared to purchase one.

The one mistake I made when purchasing this bike, and it had nothing to do with the bike itself, was to chose a large frame instead of a medium frame which would have been more suited to my height.  At the time I thought I was 5′ 9 1/2″ tall and the large frame  was built for someone 5′ 10″ and taller.  However, after a recent hospial visit I was measured at 5′ 8 1/2″ which made this decision worse.  So I felt I was between sizes and the macho man in me said go big or go home.  So I chose the large frame.  Turns out when chosing a bicycle size does matter.  With my feet flat on the ground there is no clearance between me and the crossbar so I have learned to slide my feet out of the toe clips very quickly.  However, since purchasing the bike in May 2015, I have ridden over 2,500 miles with no problems.  It is a solid bike and I would highly recommend it to the casual rider.  I was so confident in this bike that I road it on my first bicycle touring adventure which I will begin to chronicle in my next blog.

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I’m No Lance Armstong

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New River Gorge Bridge

I never had a need for speed when cycling as if I were in the middle of a peleton on the final leg of the Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey.  I ride for exercise, enjoyment of the surrounding scenery, and to have time to clear my head.  The only sounds I want to hear are the wind blowing past my ears and the sound of my tires meeting the pavement.

I became a serious rider when my job took me to the New River Gorge area near Lansing, West Virginia.  Riding in this mountainous area, at least in my mind, required that I have a mountain bike, although I did not do much off-road cyling.   I bought a 21-speed Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike and it served me well for many years and several thousand miles.

Later my work took me to Charleston, West Virginia, and along with a co-worker who was an avid rider, I began riding around Charleston after work and on weekends.  We would ride anywhere from 15 to 25 miles each time we went out.  By the way, Charleston is a great place to ride and is becoming more bike friendly.  After riding for several months my co-worker challenged me to ride my age, in miles, during the week of my birthday which was something he had been doing for years.  I had never done any long distance cycling but accepted the challenge and rode 55 miles in about 4 hours.  I kept this challenge the following year after moving to South Carolina and rode my age on that birthday.  While I still ride hundreds of miles a year I have not kept up that challenge.  But as I will describe in a later blog I came up with another way to challenge myself and move outside my cycling comfort zone.