Friday, July 13, 2007

I tried to ride my bike yesterday...

What a disaster that turned out to be.

I used to ride my bike pretty much constantly before I started college. After school, on weekends and all summer - every summer, I'd ride my bike over to some trails about a mile from my house and just go blast around in the woods and get all muddy and have tons of fun.

When I went away to college I brought my bike with me but I barely ended up riding it. The most I rode it while away at Clarkson was my last semester there when most of my classes were in buildings on the downtown campus.

After I returned to my hometown I practically never rode my bike. Last year I tried to get myself back into riding by buying a bunch of new parts for my mountain bike to replace things that were worn out (seat, pedals, back tire, titanium bolts to replace a few rusty ones) and to lighten up my bike (stem, handlebar, seat post) so that it would be easier to ride. I also picked up a crank set that I had lusted after when I was really into riding years before. All of the improvements didn't motivate me to ride again, though. I stashed my bike away into my parent's basement and all but forgot about it.

Last weekend my girlfriend's mom gave her a bike that she bought for herself but never rode. My girlfriend wanted to ride her new bike... so I dug mine out, cleaned it up, tightened up the headset and went out for a ride around the exercise trail around our apartment complex. I made it through about a lap and a half before my legs were exhausted. On top of realizing how severely out of shape I am I also came to the realization that practically all of the "new" parts I put on my bike only made it much, much more uncomfortable than I remember it being. The seat is too hard, the back tire is too narrow and the handlebar and stem made the front end of the bike feel too twitchy. Since putting the new crank set on, I also can't seem to get the front derailleur adjusted properly so I can't change the front chain rings without getting off the bike and manually helping it along. I just kept it on the big ring and shifted the rear for the short ride.

Basically, though, it was a miserable failure. I'm happy that my legs recovered pretty quickly, though. They don't hurt today, at least.

I guess I'm going to be selling my Easton flat handlebars, generic alloy stem, Vetta titanium rail seat, Smoke Lite tire and maybe the Kooka cranks (if I can't get the front derailleur working) on eBay soon. I just have to get a spare few minutes to swap the old stuff back on... I think I'm going to throw some cruiser style tires on it and put most of the old parts back on and see if that doesn't make riding it a little better.

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