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...


  1. Welcome to Blogging! May your passion for the road encourage others to get out and do the same, especially for the coming Spring/Summer.

    My brother got into biking many years back and he told me how he spent 100s of dollars on one, and I was like huh, 'wth'. But then I got on it... it rode smooth like a Cadillac, fast/powerful as a Mustang each pedal taken.

    Looking forward to following your new found passion.

  2. Alright Portia! That sounds like me going from Keds to Jordans :-). I'm not much of a biker but I'm looking forward to reading about your crazy adventures!

  3. go pdiddy!! i can't even ride a bike. maybe this blog will inspire me :-)

  4. my bike: trek x1 : its a cyclocross.... very very light.... with knobby tires but built like a road bike.... highly recommend you check out cyclocross bikes...

  5. Thanks John. Cyclocross bikes are like in the next price bracket though. I think I will save it for my next bike :-) I have looked at them and they do appear very attractive.