Monday, June 28, 2010

Mountain Bike Monday - My Bike and I

This is my bike! It's a Salsa Moto Rapido.

I inherited this beautiful (and somewhat dirty) creation from my Dynamo. I actually just commandeered it. He did switch out some components before gifting it over to me. I LOVE my bike...well, most of the time. We do have a love/hate relationship, my bike and I. He can be really frustrating sometimes. Lately, I've really been irritated with the shifters on him. Note picture below...

Those darn things drive me insane. I had a really bad crash a while back (went over the handle bars in a creek, rode 5 miles back to the car dripping blood and holding my wrist...more about bike safety in next week's post) and busted up the plastic covering and inside dial, so at times it's pretty difficult to see exactly what gear I'm in. That doesn't matter so much now because I can tell by feel, but I have some trouble with the left shifter (which shifts gears up front/front derailleur). It is never quite right for me. I have twist shifters as you can see by the above picture. For those that don't know, there are two types of mountain bike shifters out there today, twist and trigger. Right now I'm trying to determine if the twist is really right for me. It seems like most people use the trigger shifters. When I get really hot and sweaty I tend to have a bit of a hard time shifting on the front from 1 to 2 (from the smallest innermost cog to the medium cog), especially after we've been biking for 8, 9, or 10+ miles. Dynamo says he has no problem with them, but this is where I think boy versus girl comes in. He's naturally much stronger than I with larger hands. When I'm flat out exhausted turning the grip can be super hard to do. I think I need to do some tennis ball squeezing exercise things to get my left hand in shape. Or...give the triggers a try.

I'm not quite sure I want to change from twist to trigger, so for now I'm going to keep struggling and adjusting. After discussing the issue with some guys in the bike shop over the weekend and actually getting to see the SRAM X.9 trigger shifters and how they work, I think it might be a good investment. I'll keep you updated.

Other than that, right now my other bike issue is the shifting of the tube in the front tire causing flats (remember the post about me being a bull in a china shop?). We're working on that too. All in all, my bike is super. I am pleased with it.

At the Hoo-Ha we chatted with a lady rider (Dynamo calls them chicks) and she said that the biggest mistake that women make is not buying good gear. They cheap out because they aren't sure they will stick with it and don't want to spend the money. I can tell you one get what you pay for. This I have found to be true with most things, especially bras. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about! With biking gear these things I've found to be necessary:

1. get fitted by a knowledgeable person and a reputable bike shop
2. get the right bike for the right purpose
3. good padding is a must (shorts that is)
4.  "wicking" is key
5. a bigger seat is NOT always better
6. fingerless grips with padding made especially for chicks rock
7. ergon grips are helpful
8. get a good hydration pack with well-designed pockets (don't fill them too much). In my case the women's specific Camelbak fit well. Ladies, we are shaped differently than men up top you know!
9. wear your helmet correctly

I'll talk more later about the various items I've listed in more detail, but for now you get the picture. Don't skimp out! Riding rocks! I'm not very fast or very good, but I've come a long ways in a year's time. I'm out there learning something new and it sure beats running. It's awesome to see girls riding in a traditionally male-dominated sport. So, I don't care what you do, but do one thing...get off the sofa and go do something! You'll be glad you did! Do it for you! Do it for your health! It always hurts a little during, but it's worth it in the end! Pain is, you're not going to die! At least that's what Dynamo tells me!

1 comment:

Jim Rosen said...

You said it. You get what you pay for. Melissa's hybrid as grip shifts. I must say I prefer the trigger style shifters. As my friend Tong used to say, "Pain reminds you that you are alive." That said, I try to avoid certain kinds of pain. Like the kind that you feel after going over the handle bars. Somehow I missed the story on that crash you described. I hope you recovered ok. Luckily Dynamo is handy with the bikes and can get you fixed up with minimal pain in the pocket book. Keep riding! I look forward to more Mountain Bike Monday stories.