I was standing outside the University Bookstore when a man in a dark jacket rode away on my bicycle. An awkward moment, with cash in hand, I turned away and went to catch the bus.
It took two years for me to save the money to buy my first serious touring bike. I’d never been on tour but knew my destiny. Later that summer, I had my first long ride from Seattle to Banff, followed by many of the tours and near-tour-experiences that were the foci of this blog in its earlier BikeNerd days. All of this, done of my Rodriguez.
As I’ve grown as a rider, the Rod has served me less and less satisfactory. I can pinpoint the moment I lost trust in the bike: having an ergo shifter break in Cape Breton. For three days, I rode manually lifting my chain as needed until I got to the first small town with a bike shop, where they told me this, “We could FedEx that from Boston. It ought to be here in a couple days”. I felt betrayed. Violated. But that’s often how one can feel riding busted Campy in the hinterlands. We did a work-around that got me back to Boston, but my love was never the same.
With experience, I’ve come to differ with some choices R+E makes for their bikes. Fundamentally, Campagnolo is a beautiful system but, unless you’re carrying all the parts on you, impossible to have fixed outside of the city. In the city, it’s premium and expensive. While I was thinner, I also did not notice the amazing lack of gear width that the Campy has. Sure, sure, these are “Alpine” widths, but for the skinny, Euro-race boy, not the overloaded and over-weight American! Most famously the Rod seems to have come with a dance move called the “The Rod Shimmy”. Yep, part of that is the high ride, which is desirable in a tourer, but as I put on more weight, the distribution of my weight and not being pushed back enough increased the frequency of it.
Vic and I still want to bike to Argentina. For this, I’d clearly need a different bike, which is where my new bike comes in: a bit larger, wider gear ratios, all Shimano, wider tire widths, and basically beefer and with higher-end components (which I would not have appreciated, desired, or been able to afford when I bought my Rodriguez). I’m still riding it around and figuring out what it means to me, so I’ll write about that later, but suffice to say it’s been a bit of a swoon, like have a very cute barista ask you out on a date, three days after your heart was busted up in an intense, though short, affair. New possibilities tinged with nostalgia.
To the purchaser of my bike: May you find much happiness on it, may it serve you well, and may you have your own sweet adventures that enrich your life and those around you!