First, I just want to wish a friend of ours a speedy recovery after a nasty spill he took this weekend during a triathlon race. I am so very glad he was wearing a helmet, and it just reinforces the need for everyone to wear them all the time, no matter how skilled you are. Things happen beyond our control, and the added protection goes a long way. We hope you have a quick recovery and are back racing soon!

So . . . I took the plunge yesterday and picked up my first road bike. It was time to put my money where my mouth was for this triathlon, and to do so, I absolutely needed to upgrade my ride from a 16.5 inch mountain bike with thick treads and shock absorbers to something a little bit more road worthy. After months of research, I finally annoyed Ellie to the point that she walked with me to our local shop, Campus WheelWorks, and wouldn’t let me leave without a bike. A really helpful employee assisted me and let me take several models for a spin, and I finally made my decision.

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I ended up with the Jamis Satellite Sport for a few reasons. The first and major reason was the price point. It was within my range without breaking my budget, and it should suit me well. I wanted something that would hold up to daily commutes to work but that could still work alright for an occasional triathlon. It probably won’t compete with those fancy $3,000 carbon bikes, but it should do fairly well, especially for what I want it for. I settled on an all-steel frame with the hopes of long-term enjoyment. The second reason, not to jump the gun or hint at anything, but I wanted something that will hold up for many years to come, just in case I’ll ever need to hook up a little-kid carrier on the back or something silly like that.

In terms of sizing, I went with a 54 cm frame size, which just felt right. The 56 cm I test-rode didn’t feel as good, despite being the “recommended size” for my height . . . which reinforces the notion that you really do need to just get on the bike and try it out. I picked up a couple of extras, including two water-bottle holders just in case I drop a bottle during a race, and also so I can carry extra water for Ellie and myself when we are training. I also picked up a new bike lock so that my paranoid self can lock my bike up at all times, even inside our apartment.

Here’s a fun fact that I learned on Saturday while looking for a bike: I am actually 5’11 1/2. That’s a full inch taller than I previously thought. I must have gotten taller in my training or something.

Overall, I am pretty happy so far. I only rode it for a few quick miles last night, but I hit 24 mph fairly easily in the flat parkway system near my house. That’s is faster than I’ve ever hit on my mountain bike, even while going downhill. I have quite a lot to learn about the proper way to maintain a bike, how to use the various gears, and in general how to ride a bike whose tires are one-fourth the width of the ones I am used to. Cranksets, cassettes,  cross-chaining, cadences . . . lots of “C” words are in my future!