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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Best Way to Start is to Start

Friends at Sycamore Cycles are letting me test some bikes of different sizes and styles so I have a firm grasp on the kind of bike I would want. My current mode of transit is a '73 Schwinn single speed, which is a total babe but unfortunately won't make it down a mountain in one piece.  So they started me off on Giant's ground-shakin', brand-spankin' new Talon 27.5 4, because it offers a unique compromise between the usual 26 or 29-inch wheel bikes, but ahhhhhhh --- I'm getting ahead of myself. First, a little introduction is in order.

My first time barreling down the side of a mountain was in a triathlon (my first tri as well, incidentally). When thirty other people are cascading around you like a pack of gazelles, you don't really have the opportunity to get off your bike and take five deep breaths before making the next downhill plunge. So that was a fun 'finish or die' experience.

Second time was half a year later with a friend who was a very proficient rider, and who hugged turns like a rope swing wrapping around a tree.. I made it through unscathed, with a false sense of competency of the sport. ("I'm not dead after doing this?? Then I MUST be a natural!")

But the truth is, I am terrified for this venture. Not just of harming myself or my bike, but of the bicycling culture. I mean, put yourself in an outsider's shoes: Cyclists appear to live in this almighty, exclusive club of adrenaline addicts who trade jargon that's a cross between engineers and Sesame Street. But in reality, they're as human as everyone else. They've just put more time in at being awesome.

"You -- you don't know what a derailleur is?"
And my god is it rare to find bike shop owners who don't squint at your innocent, nervous blinks if you're a self-proclaimed novice and a female! That's why I'm so grateful for the guys at Sycamore. They understand that not everyone is where they are in bicycling expertise, and they meet you on your level. They have given me confidence that I can learn the lingo if I make the effort. And here I offer you that opportunity to do the same.

This blog is for the beginners, the nervous, and the interested ignorants who have always wanted to start riding but were too afraid to ask the experts. I'll post about wheel sizes, describe different types of brakes, types of frames best suited for women and men, how to do minor fixes yourself, etc. If there's a particular question you have, shoot me a message and I'll do my best to answer it!

So here I go, stepping into the fray, with no option of turning back.  Stay tuned for some fun and failure. I assure you, Dear Readers, there will be plenty accounts of both.

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