Re-Entering the World of Biking

So I used to do a lot of biking, but two things got in the way. First, my family moved to a small town with absolutely no biking infrastructure—no trails, narrow roads with cars going fast on them, etc. Second, I turned 16 and got a drivers’ license—so biking was no longer the best form of transportation at my disposal. I had a bike at college (a cheap WalMart bike) that I kept until very recently, but rarely used it.

The biggest reason I didn’t, plain and simple, was laziness. I wasn’t particularly motivated to get back into biking, and whenever I did have a passing desire to hop on a bike and ride there was simply too much prep-work involved. The bike was usually in need of repair (being cheap, seldom-used, and stored outside). Once the bike was fixed, I would need to put the rack on the car, load up the bike, drive to a good place (the neighborhood I lived in wasn’t good for biking), unload the bike, then do my ride, then repeat the whole process. That’s a lot of hassle.

But the tide has turned.

First off, I’m personally much more motivated to get back into biking. It’s a great, relaxing thing to do—even in the middle of the hectic Washington, DC, area. Second, we have an SUV now—so moving a bike, or two bikes (if Melissa joins me) is quicker and easier (no rack required). Third, we’ve moved to a neighborhood more conducive for hopping on a bike and doing a casual ride—or, for that matter, a serious ride, since the lengthy W&OD trail is only a few short miles away. Fourth, we got an indoor bike stand to keep our two bikes inside which should improve the longevity/reliability of the bikes.

So all that remained standing in my way was . . . I didn’t have a bike. We got rid of our old bikes before the move.

But if we’re going to do some real riding, which is my intent, we’re not going to do it on Wal Mart bikes. We’re going to make an investment in some quality equipment. After chatting with a coworker—who races bicycles and is knowledgeable about the subject—we decided to go to Spokes, Etc. in Ashburn with our eye on some lower-end Trek bicycles.

We settled very quickly on the 2008 Trek 7100 Hybrid (which was on sale—always a plus!). I got the Matte Silver/Navy model and Melissa got the women’s Light Salmon model (mostly because it matches the color palette she uses for her art business’s branding—go figure). And when you buy two bikes, you get 10 percent off any accessories. I picked up a wireless speedometer/odometer/clock/thermometer gizmo, a rack for the back, and a trunk bag that connects/disconnects quickly from the rack. Good stuff!

I did a short ride (I’m guessing about two miles, but I hadn’t installed the odometer yet!) and discovered two things. First, real bikes—even low-end ones—are much better to ride than WalMart bikes. Second, I am terribly out of shape. Hopefully I’ll have that fixed soon ;-).

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.