Sunday, June 14, 2009

A perfect bike?

Today I headed out to my favorite trail, Medina's Reagan Park, with my good friend Mike. We both pulled into the parking lot at the same time and saw a sea of cars. Apparently Reagan Park was holding a huge soccer tournament. We somehow found parking next to each other and got ready. After suiting up we headed over to check out a certain manufacture demo tent. They were at West Branch yesterday and were at Reagan today. We had planned this ahead of time, and planned on doing two laps and then demoing some bikes. When we approached the tent we learned that they had arrived earlier today at the prescribe location at Reagan Park couldn't find the trail head and no one was around so they decided to set up over at Huffman Park. Since it was already packed because of the tournament they were asked to move back to where they were giving permission to set up their tents. The representative was a little salty and was packing up things and generally complaining. I was put off by this attitude, since they had decided to set up in a spot they were not giving permission to do so. They decided to pack up and head home, instead of letting potential customers demo their bikes. I was also off put by the position they put me in, since I was in my CAMBA uniform. I was stopped and asked multiple times where the specialized demo was. It made us look bad because a demo was posted at one of our trails and was cut short. Generally, this situation left me feeling uneasy about the brand.

It also made me realize how great a representative we have with Bob Myers from Trek/Gary Fisher. Bob Myers is very professional, and nice. His demos are well planned and go off without a hitch. If you ever talk to Bob, you'll quickly see that it isn't about anything other than a true love of cycling.

OK now onto the ride. I decided to bring two bikes out today. I planned to start on my new Nashbar 29er and if my legs didn't feel good I brought along my Gary Fisher Piranha hard tail to switch to on the second lap. Two factors made me make this decision. First was I was unsure of the gearing on the single speed. I'm running 32x18 with heavy wheels, second was this was the 8th day straight of a hard training week.

The first lap was a medium paced ride. Immediately from the start the heavy tires showed their weakness, add on wide risers and the cornering could only be described as cumbersome. Every change in direction happened slowly. I would turn the handlebars and it would take a second for the bike to change directions. Climbing was also labored as it was hard to get the heavy tires to spin up. The wet conditions and v-brakes meant braking wasn't crisp.It wasn't a horrible ride but it was missing something. The only excitement came when on a steep muddy downhill my front tire lost traction and I went over the bars.

We went back to the car and I switched to my Piranha. I immediately felt a difference in the two bikes. The Piranha was light and stiff. The feeling I got can only be described as being on a bike but not having a bike under you. It almost felt like I was running and not on a bike. With this I became more aware of what I love about this bike. First was it's handling. Turn the handlebars and the bike whips to your input. There were times where I swear just thinking about turning made the bike turn. When I pedaled there wasn't resistance from the pedals or wheels. Getting the wheels spun up to speed was effortless. Climbing was easy, easily staying in the big cog up all the climbs. The brakes would slow you down with the slightest pull and the fork soaked up the bumps without letting you know it was working. Gear shifts were smooth and seamless even uphill out of the saddle without even a hesitation. This got me thinking, what makes this bike so enjoyable to ride? It took me a while but I think I finally figured it out. I love this bike because I don't notice it. It's not about the bike when I'm on this bike, it's about the rider. It's the rider not the bike that makes you fast or slow.

That whole second lap I was smiling and thoroughly enjoying myself. Can't wait to get back there tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Just got the new Gary Fisher AR Super. Gary's first line of road bikes. AWESOME!