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 http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/bike_path/fx/73fx/
- Trek Valencia http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/valencia/valencia/
- Trek Soho http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/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...