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Re-Cycle

25 Jun

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One of my bikes I have always loved but I’ve never really loved riding. Know that feeling? Beautiful frame, pretty color, just a classic bike, the 2010 Jamis Aurora Elite.

aurorablue

 

The frame is Reynolds 631, with a sloping chromoly lugged crown. A thing of beauty, and a ride that smoothed out the rough roads around here. What didn’t I like? The disc brakes, the fenders, the toe-overlap and the too-long reach, mainly. The 50cm frame was just a little large, but the next size down was a 47cm – too small. A Goldilocks dilemma, with no “just right” size I opted for the 50cm.

I adjusted to the slightly too tall frame, but I never adjusted to the sluggish ride. So much slower to accelerate than my Scott road bike, and consequently over the years I rode this beautiful looking bike less and less. My plan was to sell it and buy something like a Trek FX or similar.

Fast-forward to May.

Since I rarely rode it anyway, I decided take it to northeast Ohio and keep it at my mother-in-law’s so I’d have a bike when I visited. With my commitment to RideEveryDay I wanted to make sure I had access to a ride when visiting and I’d buy the FX or something similar to ride here.

Additionally I decided to spend a few bucks (turns out more than a few, but isn’t that always the case with us and our bikes) and make it more to my liking. A few weeks ago I took it to my LBS of late and replaced the disc brakes with calipers and the 90mm stem with a 70 to improve the reach. I also had to go to a narrower tire so I switched to 25mm Gatorskins. The fenders were a joke so I removed them plus the rack. I may get a seatpost mounted rack.

The result? Well, the bike isn’t going to my mother-in-law’s any longer because I ride it almost exclusively now. Sorry Rocket (my Scott). The difference in the ride is nothing short of amazing and has me questioning what took me so long.

The biggest difference? Has to be a tie – between the improved acceleration/ride quality and the improved cockpit and comfort. I LOVE this bike – and now I LOVE riding her.

The moral of the story:  if you have a bike that doesn’t quite do it for you, before you sell it and buy something else maybe try to see if you can make it right.

www.loveofbikes.com

2010 Jamis Aurora Elite – For The Love of Bikes

www.loveofbikes.com

2010 Jamis Aurora Elite – For the Love of Bikes

 

 

Anyone There?

11 Apr

I haven’t been around much lately. I’m still riding, just not writing or posting much here.

Although my love of biking hasn’t waned, my love of blogging has.

Blogging has often seemed too much like talking to myself and not enough like hanging out with other people who love cycling. For the Love of Bikes has never enjoyed a big readership but we did have loyal, regular readers. I would guess most have moved on. Hopefully not all – anyone there?

I plan to change that this year and we’re entering in to the prime time for bike riding so here I am: recommitting myself to riding and writing.

You can always find For the Love of Bikes on Facebook and Twitter.

Rediscovering Joy

19 Apr

P1070061.jpgThe day was more than half over before I got out to ride, but all the better because the wind had died down. Today’s route was shorter, but more hilly.

Toward the end I was getting tired and dreading the next hill, but instead I thought to myself, “just slow down and pedal easy”.  Granted I wasn’t going fast, but my mind was pushing me to pick up speed before the next ascent. Just that thought of slowing down shifted my focus. Instead of grinding up as hard as I could I eased up and focused on pedaling circles. Next thing I knew I was cresting it and heading down the other side.

I realized then my cycling would be better served if I focused on the techniques of cycling, more than the miles ridden and average speed. My shift in thought immediately made me less centered on the work of riding and more on my experience of riding. You can’t measure the technique of pedaling circles, you don’t push harder to pedal circles, you just think about spinning the pedals.

A different way to measure and track my rides would help. Something that centers on the quality of the ride and not my miles or speed or the feet of ascent climbed. To make a shift so I can have more joy while riding I really believe it will require less focus on the numeric statistics of riding. Probably means not wearing my heart rate monitor or using my Garmin 510. That would definitely be different.

The experience I’m looking for again is that feeling of losing myself in the ride: where there is no separation from me, my bike, the road, the wind, the sounds. Lost in the experience, yet keenly aware of my surroundings, obviously.

How does one measure cycling enjoyment; by how many bugs you swallow or find in your teeth from all that smiling? By leaving the Garmin at home and scoring the ride based on fun had?

What do you think?

All You Need

16 Nov

 

… plus a bike, of course.

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.loveofbikes.com.