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Many miles later … and yes, the bike does make a difference January 5, 2009

Posted by misfire in Bike Log.
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Posted last at about 27 commuting miles (that was with the computer actually on the bike). It’s a new year, with a new bike, and even new computer (bike-puter that is).

I put in about 450/500 miles on the specialized and was starting to wear it down with the commuting. That and I was realizing that a new bike really could make a difference.

I was eyeing up a Raleigh Cadent at the local shop (familybikeshop.com), but one of the workers there suggested I try a Surly Cross Check they had on hand. The comparison ride was a no-brainer; the Surly won hands down. I did a few more comparisons to be sure (including a Kona Jake and Jamis Nova Pro). The Jamis was a nice ride, but wasn’t really cut out for the commuting I planned on doing. That and the Cross Check is generally more versatile (gotta love that steel). So … a few discussions later with the budget committee and a few visits to the shop and I had the Surly in hand (Merry Christmas!).

So … how does the bike make a difference? There’s two sides to that …

First, I went mountain biking with Jonathan (owns the shop) and some other guys on my *old* Kona (older than any of my kids and my oldest is twelve … even predates our wedding). I can’t blame it all on the bike, but it was definitely a factor. It’s too small really, plus I don’t have the right tires on for the sort of riding we were doing. And like I said … it’s old (and I’m getting older too 😉 ). Plain and simple, got my butt kicked on Saturday. The trail and the group I was riding with were more aggressive than I’m used too as well. To their credit, they were kind and patient with me. I didn’t puke or superman, but I did sort of bonk (time to stock up on some goo) and had to push the bike up at least two hills. My ego hurt as much as (possibly more than) the rest of my body (although … I did recover quite well and feel much better today).

Second … the first commute ride in on the Surly. This was a positive difference. What’s normally a 45 minute ride, I did in 33 minutes (wOOt!). The new computer is nice too. It has a few more features like average speed (the main number I worry myself with). Where my average speed with the Specialized (Crossroads) is about 15 mph, I was approaching 17 this AM (we’ll see how the evening ride goes). The bike just rolls better and is geared much better for the commute ride (not to mention it fits better, weighs less has and better components overall). I haven’t put a rack on it yet, but was carrying my clothes and lunch in a backpack (the same weight I’d normally put in bags on the rack).

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