As if I didn't already have enough money-consuming hobbies, I finally bought myself a road bike. I bought a 2011 Trek 2.1 off of Craigslist and got a pretty good deal on it. The previous owner put about 50 miles on it over the last 4 years. Hopefully I'll be able to put more on the bike than he did. This is my first road bike and it definitely is taking some time to get used to it. I have previously only had mountain bikes and the last time I've rode more than 100 feet on a bike was back in junior year of high school.
Road bikes are fast! I don't think I'm as comfortable as I should be riding one of these on the road, especially going downhill. Also, going uphill exposes how out of shape I am. I can definitely work on shifting gears. Flat roads feel very good though. I think this will be a good commuter bike as well as a weekend recreational road bike. I might have to get some actually cycling shoes that I can clip in to the bike. The current pedals on the bike are the Forte Boulevard pedals that have a platform on one side and a SPD-compatible binding on the other. I do not have the highest confidence in the current brakes. It takes a while to actually come slow the bicycle down if I'm going really fast. But maybe it'll actually get better because the bike hasn't actually been ridden in a long time.
I've managed to ride the bicycle around down to the grocery market and café and back to the apartment a few times. The first time going back up the small hill was not very pleasant, but it got easier each time I rode back up the hill. This Saturday the weather was surprisingly nice. The weatherperson got it wrong (again). So I joined some of my friends on a nice bike ride on Sauvie Island. It was about 12-13 miles and really flat, so that was nice. It only took us just under an hour to ride that route so we were averaging around 13 mph pace. It felt good riding the bicycle that long. The sizing of the frame and position of the handlebars felt fine. It took me a little bit to find a rhythm and get used to keeping up with the others. I started the first half of the trip in a lower gear to get some more pedaling in but found that I was getting tired of moving my legs that much. I then switched to a higher gear so I didn't have to pedal as much to maintain a certain speed at which point it was fairly effortless on the flat terrain.
Surprisingly, my legs weren't as sore as I thought they'd be the next day. My legs felt fine for the most part with the only soreness coming from around the ankle/lower shin area. My butt however is quite sore. I didn't realize how sore it was until I got back on the bicycle the next morning to ride down to the café. Hopefully it will get less sore over time. I even bought padded shorts! They did help a lot though while on the bicycle. The fluid trainer that I got with the bike is pretty nice. I think I will be able to use it in the future. It makes bike maintenance a little easier too since it will hold the bicycle upright.
Overall, I think I could get used to the occasional weekend cycling trip with friends and fair-weather commute during the week. I don't think I would really enjoy cycling long distances on the road by myself though. It's definitely more fun to be surrounded by good company. Hopefully I've racked up enough good karma by being nice to cyclists while driving.