George Washington’s Influence On Cycling

As most of you know, I found myself in the market for a new bike this weekend.  It was not my intent to get a bike right away, but my wife encouraged me to have a look-see at the local bicycle shop, which I did late on Sunday.  So it was that I found myself in a bike store slightly more than 24 hours after ruining the Trek.

Upon my arrival, I quickly discovered there was a President’s Day sale underway.   The official federal name for the holiday remains Washington’s Birthday, but modern convention is to call it Presidents Day.  I’m not entirely sure why but I believe it was somehow more beneficial for marketing by businesses, which makes sense to me given the activities associated with the holiday.  Very little happens on this day, other than state and federal employees taking the day off work and retail stores holding sales.  Such was the case at Revolution Cycles.

The shop was offering deals on their “old” 2011 bikes in order to clear space for their 2012 line.  I told the manager my story and pointed out that I was in no condition to test ride a bike.  I asked if he could hold the price for me for a week or so, when I would have recovered sufficiently for a ride.  Failing that, I wondered if he would honor a return on a bike I bought this weekend if I found that it wasn’t to my satisfaction in a week or so.  While the manager expressed great sympathy and interest in my accident, he was not in a position to extend the sales price, nor could he accept a return.  All sales on the discounted bikes would be final.

Thus, George Washington was forcing my hand from beyond the grave.  There were good deals to be had, but only for another 30 hours.

So I looked around.  I was not interested in doing anything extravagant.   I figured a major upgrade should be a reward for progressing to another level of cycling, not a side-benefit of a mistake.  Also, that same mistake had reminded me that any major investment in a bicycle should be tempered by the fact that a bicycle can be taken from you in the blink of an eye.  I therefore focused on two options:

1.  A 2012 Trek 2.1.  Exact same bike, except the paint job is different from the version I own.

2.  A 2011 Trek Madone 3.1.  Just like the 2.1, except it has a carbon frame.  As a model from the previous year, it’s price was reduced $350.

The sale price on the Madone was about $150 more than the asking price of the 2.1.  That was close enough.  I went with the Madone and have thus entered the world of carbon frame cycling.  Here it is:

The Madone has the same geometry as the Trek (ie, the frame is built with the same angles), which solved a major problem for me – fitting the bike.  A fitting would normally have come with the purchase of the new bike, but my injuries were such that I would not have been able to pedal in my natural position.   Since the Madone’s geometry is identical to the 2.1, the “fitting” would simply be accurately measuring the set up of my 2.1 and applying that to the Madone.

On Monday, I brought my ruined 2.1 into the shop, whereupon it received the requisite amount of “oohs and ahs” from the folks there.  We then set about cannibalizing the handful of working pieces off the old machine, including:

– the pedals

– two water bottle cages

– Conti 4 Seasons tires

– GPS mount

– headlight mount

– saddle bag

I am glad I could move a few parts to the Madone.  They shall ride in memory of their first machine and shall serve as a reminder to me of the importance of ride safety.  The rear derailleur and the brakes are still in working order, which I will later salvage for some unforeseen event.

So the Madone now sits in my garage, occupying the space formerly taken by the 2.1.  It is a bitter-sweet feeling to look upon it.  I’m hopeful to be mended enough to take it on a test ride this weekend, after which I shall regale you with the bliss that is riding on carbon.

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38 thoughts on “George Washington’s Influence On Cycling

  1. The new bike looks nice, there is always a little bit of good to come out a mishap. First the hurt is the body then its the wallet. I’m sure you must be itching to get out on the new bike, enjoy the ride.

    • I could ride today after work but prefer to do it over the weekend in the daylight. The weather has been mild all week. Naturally, it is forecasted to become colder on the weekend. C’est la Vie.

  2. Congratulations Steve and welcome to carbon. You won’t regret it one bit. Bike looks beautiful and you have SRAM components which is nice and all. Can’t wait to hear about the first official ride. Don’t rush it though – you gotta give yourself time to heal.

    • It should be an interesting test. There is virtually no difference between my old Trek and this one except for the carbon frame. I can imagine no better test of the differences between the two materials than this.

  3. Looks great! Congratulations! I’m curious–did your Edge 500 come through the accident OK? And is the presence of the dork disk going to be an issue later on (personally, I’m not sure why people reserve so much venom for them, but then again, people shave their legs, too…)

    • The Edge is working fine, as is the brand-new iPhone and digital camera that were in my jersey pocket. I was very lucky.

      As for the dork disk, I think I’ll keep it on along with the reflectors. I think I’ll embrace my dorkiness. Maybe I’ll even embarrass a few riders as I speed pass them on some organized ride!

  4. Steve,

    I was very saddened to hear of your accident. I am very grateful that you are okay. I can say you must have one incredible wife that still encourages you to ride because you love it. Keep your chin up, I look forward to reading about your new experiences with that beautiful new Madone.

    • I am quite fond of my wife! She has been extremely supportive and the amount of chastising has been kept to an absolute minimum. I hope to be on the road soon and am looking forward to the experiences as well.

  5. The accident was awful and you can never spin it positively, but finding a fantastic sale and upgrading to carbon comes pretty close. It is admirable that you’re getting back on the horse so quickly, on a better horse no less. While I agree that you shouldn’t reward a mistake, this will at least ensure that you can put your passion for cycling front of you and the accident behind you. Godspeed!

  6. Absolutely stunning bike. I like your component tribute to your trusty old steed. A good reminder to be careful. I wondered if you’d go check out the sales when I wandered into Revolution Cycles the other day. Surely not the best way to upgrade your bike, but hopefully that doesn’t dampen your enjoyment of it. Can’t wait to hear about your inaugural ride.

  7. I think you’ll be happy with carbon, but I haven’t ridden steel in a while, so not sure about the feel difference anymore. I’m sure it’s lighter, at least, which is going to be noticeable right away, I’ll bet.

    As for your old trusty Trek. Trust me, you’ll get over it. Probably after a couple rides on the new ride you’ll be wondering how you ever managed to get around on that dinosaur (at least that’s how I feel whenever I upgrade)!

    • Thanks. I’m looking forward to getting out there. Today’s weather is supposed to be fantastic. Naturally, I expect to be in meetings late this afternoon so a ride before sunset won’t be possible. Perhaps this weekend.

    • One of these days I’ll borrow somebody’s mountain bike and find out what the attraction is. I’m sure I will immediately fall in love and never look back. Until then, I remain very happy with my life on the roads.

  8. I think I’m going to have to subscribe to your blog – I keep showing up here late.

    I’m taking a victory in being one of the first to notice the “Madone” on the header.

    Carbon fiber is wondrous for climbing. One flats I’ve noticed it is very twitching in the wind, much more than my old aluminum, but again, climbing is just unreal.

    Enjoy!

    • I think you should subscribe. Really cool people hang out here. Just ask them – they’ll tell you!

      You get a tip of the cap in the unannounced, unofficial “New Header” contest. You may brag of your achievement to anyone except Tuckamoredrew.

  9. Looking forward to your first reports on a carbon frame, I am sure you will appreciate the ‘zip’ of the carbon frame, I can’t wait to get back on mine after a winter on the aluminium Specialized.

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