Birthday Bicycle Bash. Six steps to purchasing a bike.

Today, March 28, is my birthday. My wife and kids took me out to have a wonderful lunch today.  I had some carne asada.  it’s in my top ten of meals.  Yesterday, I had my brother and his family over with my parents for a Turkey Dinner.  Thanksgiving Turkey is another one of those top ten meals in my book.  In fact, if I listed out all the top ten meals, I’d probably talking about top 100 meals.

Happy Birthday Scott Cake

I don’t know where time flies.  I still call myself a young’un, but I’m sure many of you in the blogosphere would not call me that.  In fact, on some levels, I know that I’m not terribly young anymore, but I also don’t feel old either.  I love birthdays though.  Growing up, my family always made everyone feel special on birthdays.  I am happy to say my wife and children have carried that tradition on.  Between little surprise gifts, sweet hugs and kisses from my kids, or just plain time to relax, Birthdays have not really been full of anxiety, they’ve been full of joy.

Well, I don’t really get a big gift for my birthday every year.  However, with my triathlon training, I decided it would be very difficult to complete a triathlon without a bicycle.  So, I am now a proud owner of a Trek 7.3 Bicycle.

Trek 7.3 Bicycle

What Steps did I use in order to buy a bicycle?

  1. Determine how much money you want to spend?  This is more a personal financial decision.  What can you afford in your budget. Don’t forget all the accessories (bike helmet, bike lock, water bottle cages, water bottle, bike rack, new components)
  2. Determine what type of bicycle riding will you actually be doing.  Road Riding?  Off-Roading?  A little of both?  Be honest.
  3. Research the bikes online. Don’t forget you can buy a used bike. I did not choose this route as I’m not really the best mechanic in the world, and bicycle maintenance is not something I want to learn at this time.  So, I wanted a new bike to give me the best possible smoothest beginning.
  4. Visit some bicycle shops to survey the landscape.
  5. Take some test rides. How smooth is the ride?  Do the gears shift easily?  Will it hold up for the types of rides you’ll be doing?  Its difficult to tell when you’re a newbie when you’re just riding it around the bicycle shop parking lot.  Try to ride it in the way you will.
  6. Make a decision. Sometimes, you just have to make a decision.  Decide what’s good enough and go with it.  Don’t look back, and don’t second guess.

Since, I am a tri “newbie”, and I wasn’t sure if training for triathlons was going to be a passing fancy or a new hobby.  I wanted to find a bike that I could use in multiple ways, and that was between $500 – $1000 including all the accessories (bike helmet, bike lock, bike rack, etc…)

    Here’s what I plan on doing:

    • a Swift, light racing bike that can withstand the training and speed necessary for an Olympic distance triathlon
    • a Commuter that I could use to ride the 2 miles I have to go to some of my consulting gigs in the local industrial park.
    • a Trail Bike.  I want to be able to ride on gravel, wood chip, and grassy trails in the areas forest preserves and state parks.
    • a Bike to ride with the kids.

    Now, I really wanted a mountain bike, but I realized that the knobby tires and the heft a mountain bike is not conducive to the type of biking I will do.  I like the idea of doing off-road trail rides and light jumping, but until Mr. C and Miss M, my kids, get old enough.  I just don’t think I’ll be doing that type of riding.

    As many of you will do, when you make a purchase, I did some research.

    • Read online Reviews
    • Read triathlon training books to see suggestions
    • Asked Twitter friends
    • Asked the Trek Twitter and the Cannondale Bikes
    • Asked friends

    There’s just so many choices of bicycles.  I’ve been thinking about buying a used bike for a while now.  In fact, I’ve had my heart set on a Cannondale bike for a long time.  For some reason though, the Trek just felt better.  It seemed right.  I like that both companies are American, but I was a little disappointed when I found out that the bike was made in China.  Nothing against China, I just think the U.S. could be doing some more manufacturing at home.  Regardless, I’m super excited.  I took a ride on the bike immediately when I picked it up.  I rode about 6 kilometers.  Wow, I was surprised how, literally, my butt was sore.  I might need to invest in a new bike saddle.  Although, the bike store told me that I might just get used to it.  We’ll see.  I have a long way to go before I do 40 km bike rides combined with 1.5 km swims and 10 km runs.


    Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been doing a very good job at building my habit of exercise.  I have lost about 10 pounds.  However, for the past month, my weight has stayed constant since my initial weight loss.  I’m not surprised as I have not really concentrated on my diet at all. I also went on vacation and had tons and tons of work to do.  I’ve been totally focused at getting into a workout routine. I wanted to cement the exercise habit before I began working on the nutritional habit.  I think I have a pretty good ingrained desire to exercise now.  Although, I definitely would call it a tenuous weak habit that will need greater and greater reinforcement. My next task will be adjusting my diet for peak performance and weight loss. I know what I need to do, but I just need to build the mental toughness necessary to achieve my goals.

    In addition to my personal diet challenge, My next thought I have is what training plan should I use in order to prepare for my Olympic distance Triathlon on August 29.  I have to build enough endurance to swim, bike, and run.  How do you do that?  I have felt often that I’m over-training, but my Certified Trainer wife says that I have probably not gotten close to that yet.  Questions I still have:

    • How do I know what training is too much?
    • How important is rest in cardio workouts?
    • What workouts do I need to do in order to build enough endurance to not only complete a triathlon, but feel good afterwards?
    • What training plan can I do? Does it have to be so complicated with this type of swim this and this type of run here, and this type of bike here?  or can it be more simple like swim this many minutes.
    • What habits can I create in order to destroy my over-eating habits?
    • How can I make swimming in cold water with hundreds of others comfortable?
    • How can I bicycle on busy streets and still be safe?

    A word from my sponsor

    Anyone want to sponsor a triathlete this year?  If so, please contact me.  🙂

    Otherwise, let me know what we can do help you achieve your fitness goals.

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