Friday, March 19, 2010

Morning Ride: Homewood Cemetery

This morning, my lab mate and I took a short morning ride to the Homewood Cemetery. Now one might wonder "Why would you want to ride in a cemetery?". It's actually an impressive and beautiful (in it's own regard) place with nice paths that people enjoy walking, running, and cycling.

Last night I installed my bike computer to the new bike so that I can track my rides. I also will post my routes on

We rode for a little under an hour and the total distance was 5.52 miles. There is a lot of winding, rolling paved paths inside the cemetery that made the ride a nice workout. The cemetery has a section where war vets are buried. Also, some of the dates on the tombstone heads date back to the very early 1900's. The Homewood Cemetery is also deemed a Historical Site. Here is a picture of me in with one of the many impressive mausoleums.

Ride Length: 5.52 miles

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And the verdict is....

I got my bike!!!!! I went to my LBS and got a great deal. I guess that is the good thing about LBS's, they real try to help you out. In case you were wondering, I picked up the 2009 Giant Seek 2 featuring Avid Juicy 3 Hydraulic Disc brakes. The bike retailed for $700 last year and lets just say I got it for a substantially lower price. They even threw in a free water bottle!

I must say, my first commute on the bike was a joy. The hills that at once gave me trouble on my previous bike were easy thanks to the Seek. I would recommend this bike to anyone! I will post pics of my actual bike a little later.

Well there you have it folks, 2009 Giant Seek 2

Let the adventures begin...

Team Estrogen

Yesterday, I spent part of my free time (okay....I have no free time so I procrastinated by...) looking for a community of women cyclist. I found them!!! LOL.

The Team Estrogen (cute name) forums are great and provide a great deal of information for newcomers and the seasoned biker alike. I found information on nutrition for taking long rides, bike maintenance, accounts of great adventures, and places to ride. I must say that after reading the forum and being welcomed in by the ladies, I am more motivated than ever to get on a bike.

Today is the day everyone!!!! I will go and find/buy my bike!!!! Wish me luck :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One bike, two bikes, three bikes, four...


I've tried out so many bikes lately, I feel like a 2 cent whore. LOL....not really but I have tried a lot of bikes out. Here is the runaround of what I have found.

I have already told you about my adventures at the Trek store here in Pittsburgh. But there are a other bike stores in the area that I have visited.

*Side note* LBS = Local Bike Store ===> I learned that today reading bike blogs

First Stop: Pittsburgh Pro Bikes
Brands: Specialized, Cannondale, and Giant

Second Stop: Bike Tek
Brands: Jamis, Raleigh, and Felt

After about bike 3, I really couldn't feel the difference anymore. Apparently the difference between brands and models comes down to one small addition or subtraction of a component. Doesn't really help me out much tho. I was still able to narrow my choices down to two. And the nominees are....
  1. Specialized Sirrus Sport: This bike is pretty light and very nice looking. I love the style of the bike. I must admit that trigger shifters took a little getting used to. The bike is pretty quick and by the time I figured out how to change gears, I was already at the end of the block. A highlight of this bike is its partially carbon fork. Carbon fiber is a lighter material than aluminum and steel. This bike was so light i could pick it up to shoulder height with one hand. :-)
  2. Giant Seek 2: Giant seems to be a company not into flashiness; therefore, the bikes tend to look like it was stolen and stripped of all it's markings. Nevertheless, this bike is AWESOME. It has hydraulic disc brakes, which I have learned are essential for all-weather riding. Aside from that the bikes is 27 speed and a pretty nice deal. Giant is the only company that offers disc brakes at this price point.

*Side Fact* - G. Joannou Cycle, the company that produces Jamis Bikes, has a woman President/CEO. Her name is Carine Joannou and took over the company from her father in 1981. GIRL POWER!!!

What do you think about the two bikes I have selected?

Monday, March 15, 2010

First "Real Bike" Experience

Last summer, a labmate of mine motivated me to begin taking bike rides around Pittsburgh. I for the first time would use my bike to commute to school and back as well as take advantage of the many bike trails Pittsburgh has to offer. Being the somewhat responsible person I am (and knowing that my abilities to commit to anything besides my boyfriend is limited), I opted for a relatively inexpensive bike (okay it was cheap). So I went to Target and bought a Schwinn bike that was on sale for <$100. This was my first bike in about 10 years. Here is a picture of me and my not-so-awesome bike last summer.

I had a lot of fun on my Target bike, but am now ready to move on to bigger and better things. A "REAL" bike. What constitutes a "REAL" bike in my opinion is as follows:
  • Cannot be bought at Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.
  • Costs more than $400
  • Knowing what a shifter, crank set, and the difference between pull and disc brakes become important
  • You "test drive" them
  • You need to be fitted
  • May or may not require special shoes
  • You have to ask for a water bottle cage and a kick stand to be included
My boyfriend is an avid bike enthusiast (like really BIG) and really knows bikes. Naturally, I turn to him for advice and begin shopping around. Being the novice I am, I turn to the obvious choice for "REAL" bikes....Trek. I decide to go to the Trek store in Pittsburgh and had my first ever test drive of what I consider a "REAL" bike.

The difference in the efficency of each pedal and the overall feel of the bike was almost breathtaking (seriously). I rode the
  • Trek 7.3
  • Trek Valencia
  • Trek Soho
All had amazingly smooth rides and were very impressive. Also, these bikes were about 10 lbs lighter than my current bike and have rather "skinny" tires, more similar to a road bike. I was told that the commuter/urban/city style bike is good for people who will commute to work and would also like a little versatility.

My goal is to find a bike that can comfortably get me to campus every day as well as take me through the streets and trails of Pittsburgh. I have realized that I will be paying upwards of $650 for one of these bikes - an amount of money that I cannot spend lightly. Therefore I will get as much information and ride as many bikes as needed to find the one that is right for me.

The search begins...