Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's not about the bike - except when it is...

My Terry Classic commuter bike - with the old wheels.

The same bike with my spiffy new Velocity Uriel wheels. These are the same type of wheel on my road bike and I really like them.

And this post IS about the bike! Actually, it's about me on the bike. As you may remember, I live about 20 miles from my place of employment (by bike route - it's a bit shorter by car). Last summer I was all gung-ho about biking to work as a means of transportation, save the environment, save cash, lose weight, yadda, yadda, yadda. In fact, I can't think of a single reason NOT to bike to work, save one. Time. It costs me 3 hours out of my day to bike to work in the morning and then again home at night. That's a lot of time when there are things to harvest and goats to milk, as was the case last fall. Then of course bad weather moved in. Then it got really dark. And then I got out of shape!

So here I am, months later, finally thinking that I need to bike to work again. I've got a couple more good reasons now, too. First of all, the days are getting longer again. Secondly, we aren't milking Sass at the moment or harvesting anything, so there is more time. Thirdly, my bike is all spiffed up with brand new wheels! Yes! My wonderful husband bought me new wheels for my birthday and I haven't yet had the chance to really try them out. My old wheels were touring wheels which meant that they were basically bullet-proof but also very heavy. Rolling weight like that is the first thing to slow you down on a bike (besides a poor 'engine'). While I resisted getting new ones for a long time saying that I just needed to get stronger, I admit that I finally broke down. Not only will these make getting back into shape easier, but they'll make me faster once I am in shape and that means a little less time commuting. Plus...they are HOT, are they not?

Anyway, I am writing about this now because I'm pretty certain that I'm going to ride into work tomorrow. I've been getting up early all week for various reasons, but I'm starting to get used to it. It's also the only reasonably dry day in the foreseeable future (including snow next week!). I'm not conditioned enough to bike the whole way right now, so I'm going to drive to a spot down the road (with my bike) and then bike from there. Total commute will be about 12-13 miles each way instead of 20. Once I get used to that, I'll start doing the whole distance. I'll report back how it goes!

One point of note about my bike photo: Yes, the front wheel on my commuter bike is smaller than the rear wheel. You are not imagining things. The rear wheel is a typical 700 cc size...the front is a much smaller 24" wheel. This combination is more common on a recumbent bike (which is where I ordered the wheelset) than on a diamond frame bike. It's designed that way to allow for a shorter top tube length without sacrificing handling or seat tube angle. I have very short arms and legs, so I need a small bike. My road bike has two wheels that are the same size, but they are both 650 cc smaller than a typical road wheel and again, they allow for a shorter top tube (the part of a bike most critical to fit). You can read more on bike fit for women on the Terry Bicycles web site ( or on Sheldon Brown's site (

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