cycling · Guest Post

Meet Ethel, my new bike! (Guest Post)

My beloved and Randonneur Dave colluded to persuade me to get a new bicycle for Christmas this year. I hemmed and hawed. After my longest ride this year I found out my 1964 bike had a bent frame and I knew I needed to replace it. I did a bit of information gathering about the kind of bicycle I should go for. It’s not an easy choice. I do an occasional triathlon but racing is not my main goal with my bike, time in the saddle is. So after chatting with friends and even trying out Sam’s outgoing bike I settled on a sport touring.

I looked for an entry level bike and I thought $1,000-$1,500 CDN was a reasonable budget and, honestly, what I could, in good conscience, sink into something only for me. I knew I should get as light a bike as I can afford thanks to Sam’s post Why should a fat girl care about riding a light bike? My weight is changing and so is my cycling performance but the biggest thing for me is comfort so a carbon fibre bike was what I hoped for. The idea is the frame flexes to make for a better ride and since I’m all about comfort carbon fibre it is!

I looked at what I could afford and I got the cheapest carbon fibre frame I could find, a 2014 green Giant Avail Composite 3. It was just outside my price point but after having some serious chats with my support network I knew if it fit I was taking it home.

I flirted with it first, doing a quick drop by the shop to get the range of bikes. There were 4 serious players but only the Giant had the kind frame I was looking for. I had forgotten my shoes but we put flat pedals on and I jumped on the bike, the frame looked so tiny…surely I’m too big a woman for this tiny thing? I actually felt super comfortable despite my misgivings of lumps that Sam mentioned in her Big women on bikes post earlier this year. I worry my butt looks like a tomato impaled by a pencil. It is silly, I know that, but it is the image that comes to mind when I jump on a tiny saddle.

So I put a down payment on the bike that day and promised to return on the Friday with shorts & shoes for a full fitting and my beloved would pay the balance.

Friday took FOREVER to arrive, I was excited and feeling a bit guilty about spending a lot of money on myself. My colleague had asked me when the last time I had done something like this just for me and I couldn’t remember the last time I had seriously invested in something I wanted, that was for my use only. That’s a theme I’ve been thinking about, the idea we either take care of others before ourselves or put ourselves first. Surely this is a false choice. I’m pretty sure I can assert my needs and still take care of my family. It doesn’t always feel balanced but it is getting there.

Friday at 5:15pm I waltzed into the same shop where I had sworn I would never go back after trying to buy rollers and bought the perfect bike for me, including clip-less pedals.

Why did I go back? Friendship. I had met the owner socially and thought I need to support this independent shop that is close to my work. I also had asked where I could get the best bike I could afford, the same shop. So I eat some crow, because being a grown up means you get to change your mind. Also, I did it for love, for my new bike Ethel. I was this happy: