New Bike!

Fri Sep 27th, 2002 01:50:24 AM EST

Diary Entry 112
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Trek 2300 racing bike: $1,829.99
Look PP 337 clipless pedals: $89.99
Sidi Genius 4 cycling shoes: $170.99
Shimano Flight Deck bike computer, installed: $110.98
Miscellaneous tools and accessories: $100.02
Racing up hills like they're not there: priceless

On Sunday I ordered a new bike. Tuesday I picked it up. It's a Trek 2300 racing bike, with aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork, Shimano Ultegra components, and a triple chain-ring with 9-speed rear derailleur. I outfitted it with Look PP 337 clipless pedals and a Shimano Flight Deck bike computer. Take a look at a couple of pictures.

This is the first time I've used clipless pedals. For those not in the know, ordinary flat pedals are called ``platform pedals.'' When you take those and put a strap over them that you stick your feet into, those are ``toe clips.'' And when you replace the toe clips by hole and tab arrangements that special shoes snap into, those are ``clipless pedals.'' The advantage over platform pedals is that you can ``pull'' as well as push with the pedals, so both feet can be used at once for pedalling up hills, making ascents easier; the advantage over toe clips is that your feet stay in them as long as that's what you want, and that you can get out of them easily, by just twisting your feet.

I wasn't sure about the clipless pedals while I tried them out in the store and struggled out into the street, nearly falling down. Then I started up the tiny hill along University Avenue. Even on that hill, I could feel the difference. As I zapped onto campus and up Palm Drive, I realized that I was no longer riding a bike: no, I was part of the machine—no, scratch that too, I was part of a new man-machine hybrid, designed for speed and renewably fueled. It was a powerful feeling.

The Flight Deck computer takes care of the one minor objection I'd had to the Trek 2300 I'd rented last Saturday, which was that I had to look down at the derailleurs to see what gear I was currently in. (Yes, I should be able to remember, but sometimes I forget.) The Flight Deck display shows the current gears, both front and rear. Each time you shift, it even displays the tooth count on both gears and the gear ratio. It also displays the current speed. Of course, it does a lot more than that, but those functions, along with the odometer, are the ones I'll probably end up using the most.

It's Thursday, and I still haven't taken the new bike on a decent ride. I'm thinking that this weekend I'll have to take it up Page Mill to see how it handles on real hills. Then it'll be time to do a half-century (50 miles) or so. It's sure to be a blast.

Last updated 03 Apr 2004 21:17. Copyright © 2004 Ben Pfaff.
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