I’ve been on 2 wheels for most of my life. The first “real” bike I can remember was a Schwinn Stingray, blue over silver with a banana seat and a coaster brake. Not only did I ride that bike as much as I could it also got me started with mods and tinkering. Changed the seat, handlebars, grips, chain, you name it. I was hooked.
My next bike after that was a “grown-up” 10 speed… except that it was yellow and it was from Sears. So as you can guess it didn’t have the best components on it and I destroyed several rear derailleurs in short order, twigs and mud can really do a number on them, especially when they are made of cheap plastic. I was a man ahead of my time… I was riding that bike like I was a CX racer long before I ever even heard about CX.
It was somewhere around this time that the movie BMX Bandits was released along with American Flyers. During my summer breaks if one of those two movies wasn’t showing on cable then rest assured you’d get your cycling fix with Breaking Away. I was just immersed with cycling.
Finally after probably spending more to repair that bike then it was worth several times over my parents bought me an ’86 Schwinn World Sport 12 speed. From what I remember they bought it a little big for me in hopes that I’d grow into it. Well I never did and that bike is still too big for me almost 30 years later. But I didn’t know a lot about bike sizing back then and what I didn’t know didn’t kill me and I rode that bike a lot. My first 25 miler was done on that bike and I can’t even tell you how many miles I put on it over the years. I road that during the spring and summer on a fairly regular basis, but it was for enjoyment only and no real serious riding. I still managed to break some parts and bend a few wheels over the years. Life of course gets in the way and I never kept up with cycling trends and was content with my Schwinn that was too big for me. As the years moved on I was spending less and less time on it.
In 1999 I moved and ended up living on a dirt road. Well this was no place to ride that World Sport so I jumped into the mountain bike game and picked up a Schwinn Moab 3. What a fun time I had with that bike! Of course as luck would have it I moved again a few years later to a paved development and with very few trails reachable from my front door. It began to get relegated to pavement duty so much so that I put a pair of street tires on it.
Of course riding a 30lb mountain bike on the street has it’s challenges and early last year (2013) I began toying with the idea of getting more of a hybrid bike – something lighter, better suuited to the street, yet rugged for those dirt/gravel excursions, with straight bars. You see I didn’t want to get another “road” bike, I found the flat bars more comfortable then the old drops on my World Sport. I began talking to a few friends and almost unanimously they all said I should look at cyclocross, aka CX, bikes. I was a little hesitant at first because I really liked the feel of the straight bars over drop bars, but then again the bars I were criticizing were almost 30 years old so I owed it to myself to try something from this century.
After a lot of research and kicking a few tires a Specialized TriCross ended up following me home, if you hadn’t already guessed by the photo at the left. It is a “budget” minded bike, not breaking the bank, but I didn’t want to drop a lot of money w/o knowing if I was going to truly enjoy it or not. Needless to say it was love at first sight and it’s oh so comfortable. Due to issues with shipping last year it took a few weeks to get the bike shipped and I didn’t actually receive it until the beginning of October. But in 2.5 months I managed to put close to 400 miles on it and have been longing all winter for the weather to warm up so I can put some more miles on it. And yes, I rode it like a ‘cross bike. There were a few dirt trails/roads that as I was riding down was thinking I was going to have some serious wheel truing to do afterwards but even after some serious thrashing they are still straight and true.
As an aside… I now can’t stress enough how important it is to get a bike properly sized and fitted to you. Kudos to Cycle Center of Stamford for great customer service and fitting services. I’ve recommended them to a number of people (and when I was in my research phase many serious riders recommended them as well) and will certainly continue to go back to them for my future cycling needs. (ed. sadly they closed in 2015)
So what does my future in cycling hold? I’m not sure, but I can’t get enough of it right now, I love riding and being out in the fresh air. I plan on doing several charity rides this year and already signed up for a 30 miler that I also did last year. I have put a set of 25c tires on the TriCross for the spring/summer and I’ve also been toying about getting a more “proper” road bike, something along the lines of a Specialized Roubaix.
Oh how things have changed. My passion for cycling has been 100% renewed in the past years. The TriCross did the trick and I found myself longing to go out more and more. It’s funny to see my big rides were 30 milers, now I’ll do 100k w/o a second thought and even 100 miles isn’t a big deal, just need to find the time. My next milestone ride is a 4 day ride in 2017 with back to back centuries; I just need to be accepted.
At the end of 2015 I purchased a Cannondale CAAD10 which is my primary road bike now. That bike is so fun to ride, I never want to get off of it. My TriCross isn’t gathering dust though, it’s back to sporting CX tires and I have entered in a few races with it this year (2016) as well. I had mixed results as you will find on the blog but I had a ton of fun doing it.