In my pursuit of getting in shape for Tough Mudder (and in general) I’ve bought a road bike to complement my trusty mountain bike. In addition, I’ve also picked up a bike trainer and stand so I can bike indoors in the morning before heading into work.
The Road Bike
Unlike when I purchased my mountain bike, I took the advice of one of my friends and had myself fitted for a road bike. The fitting definitely opened my eyes to some things; first, being tall, I’m automatically placed into the category of “a large guy” for road biking which means every bike that is in stock is too small for me and I had to have one ordered. On top of that, there was still additional fitting that had to be done to make sure everything was up-to-snuff. The bike shop I went to, Nelo’s Cycles (for those of you looking for a bike shop), was very helpful and got me squared away based on my measurements and price range. We also went through determining the best sort of pedals for what I’m doing, accessories I might need, and everything else associated with a road bike. The bike I purchased was a Cannondale Synapse 3 Ultegra in the 61mm frame size.
I’m hoping this weekend to get some miles put on the bike so I can get a little bit of a first impression of it and hopefully get a lot of miles on the bike so I can give an informed review of the bike in the near future. The places I’m hoping to ride are: The Veloway in south Austin, on the Kurt Kinetic trainer at my house, and around my neighborhood. These three places should give me enough insight as to how the bike will handle in various conditions along with giving me enough seat time to make any minor adjustments to it.
The Bike Trainer
For the trainers I looked at a lot of different types but ended up coming down to two choices: Kurt Kenetic Road Machine and the Kurt Kenetic Rock and Roll. The big difference between the two trainers is that the Road Machine forces your bike to be completely stationary and the Rock and Roll allows the bike to tilt back and forth like when you’re riding on the street. Also, there was a $160 price differential and an extra $160 to be able to tilt left and right on my bike while inside wasn’t enough to sway me to purchase the Rock and Roll. Additionally, I picked up a riser ring that lets me set an angle on the bike such that I can simulate biking on an incline.
Setting up a bike for use on the trainer was fairly simple. You remove the bike’s original skewer and replace it with the one that came with the trainer and then slide it into the trainer locking the wheel in place with the new skewer which fits into these custom cups. However, the one thing the trainer forgets to mention is how to install the specialized skewer cup on the trainer. They want you to go online to see how to do it. But, I’m stubborn and it really isn’t that hard; you just need a 4mm hex key to undo the cup on one side of the trainer and then just replace it with the skewerified cup.
The trainer comes with a SPINeRVALS DVD that is a testing workout to help you figure out where your heart rate, etc. need to be in order to get a great workout. I did the workout twice just to see how I liked it and it was really good. I might get a few more of the DVDs just to give me something to do when it is too dark to bike outside in the morning or night since sometimes work and school get in the way of doing exercise at the time I’d really prefer to workout.
From Friday to Sunday, I managed to put about 40 miles on my bike. A little over half of them were on the trainer and the rest were on the roads around my neighborhood. I really like the feel of the bike and everything seems to be loosening up and getting into real working order. The only thing I don’t like right now is the seat, but that is more from my butt not being used to it than anything else. As I get more miles on the bike I’ll give a much better review of the bike other than it’s really nice, I enjoy riding it, and road biking is a heck of a lot less dirty than mountain biking.