Thursday, February 17, 2011

And Now, For Something Completely Different

Over the past few weeks, I've been crunching numbers, trying to find the best way to upgrade my Fuji Monterey to ensure that I had a safe and comfortable ride this year. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I was hit with the "temporarily sold out" sign on the wheelset I had budgeted for and a notice that they would re-stock in mid-January.

While waiting for mid-January, I was hit with some very unpleasant news regarding my car. My car is a '96 Grand Caravan and while it is old in car years, it only broke the 6-figure mileage marker last year and was still going along with only mild annoyances that needed attention. Unfortunately, a January trip to get the oil changed revealed that more work now needed done than was worth putting into it and so I started researching new cars.

In the meantime, the New England weather was being its own annoying self one day. It warmed up enough to give us a drenching rain and flooded the streets. The sewers were backed up with mountains of snow so there were puddles, puddles, everywhere. Puddles broke the asphalt and the asphalt opened up a tremendous number of potholes. After a day of rain and potholes, all of this rain then froze back into a skating rink over-night.

I woke up to go to work only to find my car stuck six inches into the ice and sporting a flat tire. This is a time when husbands/significant others with vehicles come in very handy. I stole my hubby's car to get to work and he spent the morning multi-tasking between trying to free my car, call AAA, and getting approval to work from home. He does this because he believes, "this is what husbands do." Hey, I'm not going to argue the point today.

The following day was spent with me going to a local repair franchise to buy two new tires. They were kind enough to point out that not only did I need to have repairs made that I already knew about, I also had a (get this) CRACKED axle.

With the point of a finger, my $300 tire purchase escalated into a $700 emergency repair. Obviously, given the severity of the damage, this could have had far worse consequences than me sitting in a auto-repair waiting room, calling those 1-800 numbers on the backs of my credit cards to see how I was going to finance this. At the same time, I saw my bike re-building plans evaporate with a swipe of the card. What's in my wallet? Not much anymore.

Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending. You see, I work part-time at a gym. This gym has early morning spin classes which entices the cyclists who, like me, have no interest in tempting these New England roads with their precious steeds. After all, you just read what it did to my car so you can easily see that those bicycles have very little chance of faring any better. This is fun for me as I am not only an avid spinner, I get to talk with like-minded people while at my job. When I worked in a cubicle, it was, "why is this fun for you?"

One cyclist in particular was talking about how he wanted to do a century ride and how he had this old, old bicycle that he wanted to sell so he could get something new and improved. Well, my Fuji could be this bike's grandmother, so I told him that I might be interested in his ride. He brought it in and talked a little about it.
It can't weigh more than 15 pounds. I picked up my 15-pound kettlebell and then picked up his bike and the kettlebell was heavier.

A week later, he sold me his 2000 KHS Flite 500. For information's sake, it has Shimano 105 STI shifters and brakes and a 9-speed cassette with a Tiagra crankset. The OEM wheelset is Rolf Vectors and he upgraded to Hutchinson Topspeed tires. The frame is Reynolds 520 Chrome-moly so I can still keep it real with steel.
Before I made an offer, I took it to a bike shop where I was told a tune-up and a new chain were all that were needed to get this bike in great working order. A triathlete coach who teaches swimming at the gym said not to pay over $400 for it. I took the bike shop's advice and offered him $250 at which point he said he was only looking for something for the wheels and would settle for $200.

Wait - did this guy just talk me down?? Okay, but I won't go any lower than $200!

Suffice it to say that he is now my favorite gym member. He did mention that I should seriously consider changing out the seat. A quick 2 mile test on a 40 degree day proved his warning to be accurate. That Forte' seat could be arrested for assault. If anyone has had any positive experiences with ladies seats for endurance/tri rides, I'd love to hear from you.

Here's a catalog picture of my new ride. The new tires have red stripes as well.

I can still ride the Fuji until the rock salt has disappeared from the roads and then donate it to a wonderful organization in Providence, RI called Recycle-A-Bike.

Lil' darlin'. I feel that ice is slowing melting....

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your bike acquisition and sorry about your car.

    I can emphasize about the car. I had a '95 Camero that I had bought new, and loved the car. Took it in for a tune-up and one thing lead to another. I "invested" in work that cost as much as the car was worth. Then six months later our oldest son while visiting us threw a rod. It was going to cost the price of the car again. I reluctantly sold the car "as is".

    As far as a saddle, when Christine and I started riding-and writing-about our adventures and misadventures, I wrote all I know about saddles in "Beginners Page # 4, Bicycle seats and the quest for comfort" (Jan 2009). Since that time, I have gone through 4-6 more saddles but what I said in '09 still stands.

    Christine said she would post a comment to you with her perspective as a woman and saddles.

    Our good weather is holding so we will ride again this week trying to build on our base miles. Our first organized tour of the season is Mar 5.