Thursday, May 31, 2012

Past bikes - bike #9

Good lord. This is painful to look at. Almost (but not quite) as bad as seeing my senior picture.
 In 2003, my interest in riding began turning into an obsession. I had been riding that crap Giant mountain bike and I was sticking to a diet that I invented and I lost like 30 pounds in a couple months. I was into the biking part. I was still smoking too much, but that would cease soon.

I rode my mountain bike to work a couple times. I was totally sick of driving and hated the bookends of my workdays which involved sitting in my truck in gridlock traffic and smoking. It just sucked. I was about 40 minutes to work and about an hour on the way home. Ugh.

So my commute consisted of bussing my bike for about 15 miles and then riding for about 10 miles. This took me about 1.5 hours each way. So I wasn't saving any time, but the what was the shittiest part of my day became one of the highlights -- even when it was raining, which was frequently.

So, I wanted a more suitable bike. I also wanted a bike I could tour on. My plan was to do the Iron Horse trail across Washington in the summer of 2003.

I went to my LBS (a mere 15 miles away in Woodinville) and he set me up with a Giant touring bike. I asked him to swap out the drops for mountain bars and I was golden. I look at that bike now and just see failure. It's your basic big-bike maker "touring" bike: with huge road racing gearing (but with a triple!), no room for serious rubber, and silly ass compact frame.

But at the time, it was amazing. My first commute to work on that bike was night and day difference from the turdy crappy-shocked mountain bike I had been lumping to work on.

I ended up taking the Giant on the cross state tour. It was my first tour. Here's my pre-blog post on it. And the first for the other two guys that were with me. I think that's a great way to do a first tour. It was super fun and it was super hard. The stuff that was hard about it (flats, broken spoke, stupid long days, not enough water, etc) is all stuff now that is obvious. I guess screwing everything up is what makes it obvious.

Anyway, the Giant was not a great bike. The disc brakes were awful, the ridiculously narrow 32 mm tires (supporting 250 pound me + way too much gear, all loaded in the back) were not up to the task of the rocky and sandy paths of the trail on the east side of the state. It was ridiculously undersized. And the turd-ass aluminum frame was not too "forgiving" as the bike mags say.

Right after the tour, when my hands went numb from having no options -- I put some mustache bars on the bike. I remember thinking I liked them. Or wanting to like them. Most people that try mustache bars seem to go through this: they're freaking cool looking and on paper they seem perfect. But they just don't work for non-trivial distances.

At this point I had discovered Bridgestone and the iBOB list. Things just went haywire from there. This bike was short for my world. I had my hopes pinned on an XO-1.

I ended up bringing this Giant to Recycled Cycles, where they gave me either $600 or $800 store credit. Back then, before Ebay really took off,  Recycled Cycles had great stuff.

More on that for Bike #10 and #12.


Doug said...

So true about the mustache bars. Look cool, but the just don't work very well. I was never comfortable with them on my commute.

I guess there's a reason drops have been standard for decades.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

Yeah, the old Recycled Cycles was a great place - what was coming out of peoples garages and basements was truly amazing.

I still drop by from time to time, but is just ain't the same.