Recently I bought a junky Road bike to hold me over for a while in Minnesota while I build my return to my beautiful road bike in California. I’m leaving it there for now for several reasons. It costs a lot to ship, I’m never sure how much longer I’ll be in Minnesota, and I think its happier being periodically peddled around the Stanford Campus in beautiful Palo Alto than sitting in a garage most of the time here, even if its being peddled by legs that are not my own.
But anyway, this new bike reminds me of why until last year I never really enjoyed biking. I used to think it was because I didn’t have good places to bike to, and that with the exception of a few extremists bicycling is a highly seasonal activity in Minnesota.
But I was wrong. Sure those things contribute but the main factor was the bike. I always had cheap generic bikes from Target, Walmart, or some such place. These bikes change gears horribly, are overweight, slow, and just ruin the overall biking experience.
A road bike is lightweight, designed for going fast, and gears change with ease. All of the gears are helpful, not just the highest and lowest. There’s no struggling painfully up heavy inclines or excessive pedaling due to gears not shifting.
On a road bike I’ve never hopped off to walked up a hill because it was just a lot easier. On my new crappy mountain bike I feel like doing that all the time.
For these reasons I feel angry at Target and other similar stores. Why do they make and sell such poorly designed bikes? Why do you only sell mountain bikes and a few ‘hybrids’? Shouldn’t the large tires cost more? How many people actually bike dirttrains anymore? Is it that tough to get the whole shifting gears thing down? Can I have those years of not enjoying biking back?
At the same time I feel upset with the bike shops. Why do road bikes have to be so expensive? Why are they exclusive to your niche stores? Can’t you keep it under $300?
I will probably never get an answer to those questions…
I never would have bought a road bike had it not been my only means of transportation for a year and had I not run into such an amazing deal on a used one. It angers me that I so closely missed out because bicycling is now one of my favorite hobbies and my preferred method of transportation assuming painful weather conditions and a reasonable distance.
I wish there were reasonably priced ($200) road bikes for casual biking. Around here I see garages full of bikes all the time and they’re always big framed mountain bikes with fat tires. I don’t get it. I think there’s a missing market there.