Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My New Ride

After a lot of test riding and even more research and visiting (at least) eight local bike shops, I finally chose my bike about a month ago. In the end, it turned out to be love at first ride with my Trek Allant WSD.

I tried pretty much every commuter and hybrid bike in my local bike shops, which were limited as these shops unfortunately seem to target the hardcore racing and mountain biking crowd. I tried Giants, Treks, Specialized, a Jamis and an Electra. As a relatively inexperienced cyclist, I didn't really know what I was looking for, and I can see why committed cyclists end up with two or three or more bikes for different purposes.

After visiting every bike shop in town, I decided to check one out in a town 26 miles away because I knew they carried the Allant and I had read good things about it. After two trips around the block in the rain, I was hooked.

The Trek Allant has the classic city bike look and feel to it that I was hoping to find. It has a leather saddle and cork handlebars, and let's face it, it's pretty, which a bike ought to be if it possibly can. Its seven speeds are plenty for the hills I'll encounter, and the more upright posture is nice when I'm riding alongside cars (which is all the time, so far at least). I find that it feels a bit heavier than the old mountain bike I had been riding, and it's possible that it's harder to go super fast as a result, but I will usually be carrying cargo, kids, or both, so speediness would be wasted on me, anyway.

Other than that, I can only tell you that I love riding this bike. Love. I don't know enough about bikes to tell you what kind of gears or derailers or tires or brakes it has (except that they're the squeezy kind, not the disc-y kind).

Buying a bike turns out to be surprisingly like buying cloth diapers: you research the heck out of these things, and you go around and around in your head about price and features and what you really want (which you don't know anyway because you've never really used them). But in the end, you have to just take a leap of faith and pick something. The choosing is a lot tougher than the using. And as I learn more and ride more and see what challenges I encounter, I may end up changing some things. I've already added a rear rack, a front basket, a lock mount for my U-lock, and I'm waiting on a set of beautiful pannier bags from Paris Packs on Etsy. The next step, of course, will be a child seat and/or a trailer (I still haven't decided) for the kiddos. Once I can take the kids with me, then I'll really feel that my bike is a viable transportation option for my everyday life.

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