I got my old bike out of storage last October and have been riding regularly for the past seven months. I was just going out for the exercise and didn't care what I was riding, but as I rode more and more I found that certain feelings were starting to surface as I circled the Orange County bike paths: competitive drive and envy.
I am in good shape and have great stamina, but as I slogged around the bike path I kept getting passed by guys (and gals) on impressive looking rides. I would match or beat their pedal stroke, but these people would still pass me, no matter what gear I was in. And while I was straining to keep up, they peddled like they were in no hurry at all. I came to the conclusion that pushing my old bike around was a lot of effort and I could get more speed and mileage for the same amount work if I upgraded to a new bike.
The only question was what to get. I am not a bike expert, but I have a few friends that are, particularly Jim, who blogs periodically on cycling. I wanted something that was a good, solid brand, but gave a lot of bang for the buck. And one brand kept coming back: Giant. I was familiar with Giant not because I was into biking, but because I see their shops all over Taiwan. This seemed like a good start and I looked into their product line.
I am not going to go into the details, but I decided that a Giant OCR composite was the way to go. I checked my local shop, which had a sale on last year's models (like cars, they try to move the old models out when the new ones come in). They were priced only a couple hundred dollars more what I could off the internet, but added custom fitting and free servicing for a year (like a new car they want me to bring it in at one month and three months to check everything, including the fitting). They also threw in a speedometer/computer and clenched the deal.
And the result? This bike rocks. As a composite, it weighs nothing at all and I found that I was not only keeping up, but easily passing all those serious looking cyclists along the bike paths of Orange County. I was going a hell of a lot faster and farther with the same amount of effort as my old bike.
The one thing that is a minus is that with a composite bike and road tires that I definitely "feel" the road more than I did in my old cross trainer. So one change I made was to move the "gel" seat from my old bike to replace the sleek (and very uncomfortable) racing seat. Maybe I don't look quite as cool, but I am a hell of a lot more comfortable.