Thursday, June 30, 2011

Say Yes to the Bike

"You know Dad, shopping for a bike is a lot like shopping for a wedding dress."

"What!?" my Dad asked. He was not particularly thrilled with the comparison.

I will admit it. Like most women, I secretly enjoy watching “Say Yes to the Dress.” The ridiculous dresses, the ridiculous budgets, and, most importantly, the moment when a bride puts on “the perfect dress” and starts to cry; whether you cry along with her (in the case of cancer survivors or heroic military officers) or laugh hysterically that she has decided to drop $20,000 on what amounts to a white hooker outfit.

Dad has been talking about getting me a new road bike for a couple of years now, but it wasn't until my medical leave that we actually got around to picking one out. And yes, it is true: bicycle shopping is very similar to wedding dress shopping - at least to the extent that "Say Yes to the Dress" is a true representation of reality. You walk into a bike shop, chat with a sales associate about what you are looking for (entry level endurance road bike), he performs a bunch of arcane and somewhat awkward measurements on your body (including sticking a wooden dowel near your crotch to measure your inseam), makes somewhat interesting yet largely irrelevant remarks on the geometry of your body ("you have a long torso and broad shoulders for a girl") and then scampers off to find some bikes.

And then, you get to ride them. What could possibly be better than riding out the door of a bike shop on a shiny new road bike with no reason to ever come back - except the prospect of testing another? Trying on wedding dresses, you say? Certainly not!

Despite my not-so-secret enthusiasm for the "Say Yes to the Dress", I have always been skeptical of the climatic moment of the show. How could anyone be sure that, out of the thousands of wedding dresses out there, this particular dress was “the one”?

That is, until I met the perfect bike:

The Surly Pacer
The Surly Pacer

Isn't this just the sexiest bike you have ever seen? The solid dark green frame. The drop handle bars. The CroMoyl steel frame. It's hipster without being too hipster, the nerdy dedication to speed of a road bike mixed with some city sleek. I love this bike! I love how the steel frame makes the ride feel smooth as gliding through the water on a canoe. I love how the position of the handlebars actually helps my shoulders relax.

And to drive the point home, here is a fun little shot the Surly taken with my new Holga 135:

New Bike!
Surly Pacer, Holga-fied
Artemis will still be my commuter/grocery bike, but I am thrilled to have a real road bike for weekend riding and fun trips. And, lame as it is, looking forward to getting out on my new bike has been one of the bright points of the difficult last few months.

That's right: I said Yes to the Bike, and it was awesome.

P.S. Still thinking of names! The current front-runner is Apollo, twin brother to Artemis. Any other ideas?

Addendum: For those interested (based on Madeline's comment below), it is a 50 cm frame and fits me *perfectly*. The stand-over height is just right and I feel no strain in my shoulders or back when I'm on it, despite the road bike geometry. The steel makes it a little heavy but incredibly comfortable and smooth - I feel just as stable on it as on Artemis. Perfect for long weekend rides on the crappy roads out in Boston, which is it's primary purpose!

1 comment:

  1. congrats on the bike! I would love to know how it fits you and how it feels. Other names to consider if you are on a feminist mythological streak: Athena (they are like sisters), Juno, Venus, Galatea, and, if you think your bike is fast enough, Atalanta.