Equipment: The Bike

April 15, 2014

These are the arrows I now have in my quiver. Each serves a different purpose:
The Jenard. Easy on my body, yet fast. Probably my main workhorse. On dry days.

Rootbeer - when I'm feeling strong, or the road is smooth, Rootbeer will give me a few extra miles for my effort. Like the Jenard, Rootbeer is for dry days only.

Gee Force 3
Gee Force 3 will take me safely through wet days. Hopefully there won't be many, since Gee Force 3 is very slow.

February, 2014

The Jenard

Actually, this is just a stock photo of a Domane 6.2. The actual Jenard is still in the shop waiting to get pedals and a set of aerobars. After coming home, Jenard will be anxiously waiting for the snow, salt and chemicals to go away. Probably sometime in March or April we’ll be taking our first training ride together. Until then, Geeforce 2 or 3 will be taking one for the team every time I take a winter ride.

Gee Force 3 
This is an AWESOME bike.  It's a Specialized Camber that will absorb any shock the worst road has to offer. I will use this in the event that I discover some seriously bumpy off road short cut that will save me hundreds of miles. I love riding this bike!

Gee Force 2

This is a Fuji Ace circa 1990's. It is a sweet, inexpensive ride that was in contention for being the Jenard until I was introduced to the Domane 6.2. I will use this as my back up road bike for the actual trip. For now, it is my training bike during the winter months. 

The Decision: Which bike to ride?
Gee force 3 was the bike I originally intended to use in my cross country ride. It's full suspension and feels just awesome on the road. Although it was made to ride on mountain trails and downhill racing type stuff, it makes for an excellent curb hopper and pot hole scoffer. It is the perfect buffer between a nasty bumpy road and my favorite body parts. I've ridden this and other full suspension bikes like this on several 90 mile day trips across CT and loved every minute of it. And then I entered a true, organized century ride.
Pumped to start the ERRACE.
10 hours later at the finish line.
Although the ERRACE century ride was technically NOT a race, there was still the unspoken desire of every entrant to do well in comparison to everyone else, and at the very least DON'T COME IN LAST. I thought for sure I'd be blowing by at least SOME out of shape skinny tire road bike person....but I was wrong. I came in last. Actually, there was one other person behind me, but she doesn't count because she got lost, and I don't think she even finished the race!

Normally, I wouldn't have cared. Every other long distance ride I've taken had no particular time constraints, so I road at my own pace and got there when I got there. But Portland to Portland will be different. My wife and I are teachers. We have a finite amount of summer vacation time that only decreases in days as each snow day occurs. So although I would like to enjoy the various sites along my route such as Niagra Falls and the world's largest frying pan, I would also like to leave time for a leisurely drive home and a small break between the end of the trip and the beginning of school. A faster bike was needed.

I bought the Gee Force 2 as an inexpensive way to get back into true road cycling. I hadn't ridden a road bike in decades and had no idea what I wanted. So I started inexpensive and simple. My training time immediately improved from 9 or 10mph to 13 to 15mph. This convinced me that the road bike was definitely the way to go. I even thought the Gee Force 2 could possibly be THE bike I would use. 

Then, I met the Domane.

Gee Force 2 is a Fuji Ace, circa 1990' that I got from Steve at Renaissance Cyclery. Steve is an unapologetic advocate of steel frame bikes. But as mentioned before his is also very careful to match the person with the bike. His best advice to me was "do your research." My research led me to Bob and the folks at Biker's Edge in Bristol.

Bristol location
Biker's Edge is also very careful to match the right person with the right bike. Through multiple discussions with their experienced staff, I explored the various alternatives to steel such as titanium and carbon fiber.

I had finally narrowed it down to carbon fiber over titanium, and the Trek Madone over any other carbon fiber bike. Then one day, like the series of amazing events that led me to find my wife, the universe once again blessed me with a confluence of events that led me to the Jenard. I was discussing both my P2P trip and my love of full suspension bikes with Hans,  a Biker’s Edge rep and a knowing look came across his face. “Have you considered the Domane?” he queried. I hadn’t, so he had me take a test spin first on a Madone, and then on the Domane. The difference was substantial and I knew I had found the exact make and model which I wanted to ride across the United States: the Trek Domane.

I am also happy to report that after extensive pricing research both on the internet and at other bike shops in CT the absolute best deal to be found was at Biker’s Edge. This coupled with their excellent service makes me VERY happy to be the proud new owner of a Domane 6.2.

April’s showers now can’t come soon enough to wash all the salt and chemicals off the road and get them ready for my newly christened Jenard!

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