We spent months researching and gathering advice from friends on the best way to purchase bikes. We had tons of great suggestions and now feel really good about what we selected.
We felt the most comfortable buying brand new bikes at a local shop. Though it was tempting to buy department store bikes and upgrade the parts, I realized I would always question their quality or wonder if we had gotten the right models. Because the bikes are in place of a second car, it was apparent that we needed a long-term solution. No cheap bikes need apply.
We visited several shops, but settled on Northtowne Cycling & Fitness. The service was so informative and it was clear they wanted to make sure we had the right bikes for our needs. We really appreciated that.
JENNIE: I got a Specialized Crossroads. My one requirement was COMFORT! Nice wide seat, step through, and upright seating position (which my back is very thankful for!). It's a very proper bike but not aerodynamic at all, haha.
I am using my bike for commuting. We live right off the Cedar Valley Trail, which runs downtown behind my office. I am impossibly slow, so a one-way trip is about 40 minutes.
Due to crazy weather and being out of shape, I've only biked to work 5 times so far. But climbing gas prices and a wedding in July are supplying me with a ton of motivation.
|His radical dudeness prepares for the casting call of Pacific Blue: Iowa. |
(note GI Joe shirt, agents love that 'down to earth' stuff...)
MIKE: My black, 24 speed, police-tacular looking piece of bicycle awesomeness is a 2011 Giant Escape2. I was originally looking at a Specialized Sirrus, but the extra $150 was not worth getting an aluminum fork over the Giants' CroMoly steel piece of colossal black magnificence.
As you may note it is mostly black in color, has two bicycle tire rolling things, and a seat that you place your manly (or womanly) rump roast on. You can also see that I am wearing my helmet sexy-man-backward-style. Don't do that, it only works for me. And even then it doesn't actually work for me.
I am planning on eventually replacing the stock plastic pedals with clips and getting some of these tires: http://www.ubcbike.com/store/product/148072/Specialized-All-Condition-Sport-Tire-%28700-X-32---Black%29/ The set it has now are all condition trail tires from Giant, but when you're trying to maintain a 25MPH clip for 10-15 miles every little bit helps.
I would go down to 28 width tires, but at the moment I do kind of like having a butt that isn't sore and a complete set of permanent teeth at the end of a ride. I also REALLY need to get a light set to avoid getting mowed down by other bikers during low viz and to let the morons who take up both lanes of the trail know that I'm coming to get all up in their shiz-ma-tizz.
Did I mention it looks like a police bike?
So far, the only drawback has been storage. We don't have a garage ($50 extra a month!) so the bikes currently reside in the living. It's a little awkward, but hasn't been too inconvenient. I'm not sure what we're going to do come this winter.
So the embarrassing thing about the bikes is that we could not purchase them out of pocket. Because of dental bills and taxes, we just haven't been able to save for them.
I was sooo reluctant to put them on the credit card. I mean, here we are trying to reduce our debt and we're adding to it! But at the rate we could save for them, it would have been Christmas before we could do it in cash.
Jennie's bike $419.99
Mike's bike $399.99
Two helmets $89.98
The way Mike reasoned the expenditure was that it's a good investment. First, gas prices here are $3.89 and climbing. With a truck, we don't get the greatest fuel economy.
Then with the one car, Mike is typically stuck at home all day. Now he has the mobility to get outside, visit neighboring towns, and get back into photography. It's a much needed outlet for him.
Lastly, we need to improve my health. There's a reason you never see me in pictures on here. I know that where I carry my weight + my family history is one giant formula for heart disease and diabetes. Every ounce of preventative care is paramount.
We're super happy with our bikes. A grand looks like a lot on paper, but when we think about the positive energy and good health they're bringing, we know it's worth every penny.
Side note to the moms and worrywarts out there - yes, we have helmets, locks, sunscreen, IDs, cell phones, and water at all times :)