Friday, May 13, 2011

heck on wheels

Ski season is over - now what do we do?  Sure, there's hiking and road-biking, but the trails are too wet right now way up in the canyons (and by "wet" I mean "buried in about fifteen feet of snow") and H is the only one of us interested in road-cycling.  I know: let's buy mountain bikes!

It's not like it was a snap decision or anything. H and I both had mountain bikes back east: his was a 1989 Trek and mine was a 1988 Gary Fisher, both fully unsuspended, making for filling-loosening rides, and both weighing about a kajillion pounds.  I'd been after H for a long time for us to get new MTBs: years ago, we did weekly fun rides with Portland area friends and I loved it, despite being a total menace and constantly accidentally running into trees and riding off the snowmobile bridges.  And I knew H secretly liked MTBing too, since he'd taken his Trek to Moab in 1993.

Not H's actual bike, but that's what it was - a dinosaur!

So, several weeks ago, H visited thirteen SLC-area bike shops to learn what he could about modern MTBs.  [Note: technically one of the thirteen was closed/out of business, and he turned around and walked out of three or four others due to poor service.  But he still went to a lot of them.]  He came home with several catalogs - Giant, Specialized, GT, Santa Cruz, Trek and Cannondale - and for 2-3 weeks more, pored over them and read everything he could online.  He narrowed it down to two (Giant and Specialized), decided he wanted the big 29-inch wheels, and then agonized over cross-country vs. trail models.

Finally, after we'd finished our backyard rock project, we headed up to Fishers Cyclery in Sugarhouse.  Wayne, the shop manager and guy H had talked to earlier, helped us.  He was super-friendly (yes, I know he's a salesguy and is supposed to be friendly) but didn't push us or rush us, and spent a lot of time with us.  We took a couple of Giants out for a test, the Cypher 3 for me and the Anthem X 29er 3 for H, and amazingly just let us take them without requiring ID or a credit card first.  H then tried the Trance X, with the old standard 26-inch wheels.  But it was too late: he already liked the 29er, those big wheels rolling effortlessly over the curbs and anything else in the way.

That was it.  2.5+ hours later, we put our new Giants in the truck and headed home, MTBers once again.  We took them for an inaugural ride in Dimple Dell on Sunday.  The new suspension technology is just wonderful, swallowing the jolts and bumps with ease.  The shifting is seamless; the disk brakes grippy; the frames so light!  My bike, designed for a woman, didn't tire my back or arms and I'm able to reach the brakes and shifters easily.  And I even managed my first time on clip-in pedals without tipping over (it'll happen, don't worry).

I'm wicked psyched about these bikes.  There are trails all over the place out here - I just have to figure out how to ride them.  I look like a total doofus in my helmet (proof below) and we sort of feel like matching dorks since both our bikes are white; in our defense, the models we picked did not have any other color options so we had to go with white.  But none of that really matters 'cause I'm back in the saddle again.

After the first ride in Dimple Dell

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