The Bike

Picked up the new bike Friday afternoon.

That sort of sly smile on my face in the picture below is genuine:

John Fleck with his new bike.

I’ve been riding for years on my old green Columbus and I love that bike. It was the first quick and responsive bike I ever owned, it got me up Sandia Crest and through my first time trials. I could add the numbers up from my logs, but my best guess is that I’ve put 12,000 miles on it in the last four years. But it’s a heavy old bike, and I increasingly crave speed.

The new bike has it. I could tell today when I was ripping up one of my usual routes into the foothills. It climbs light and quick. The frame is stiff aluminum, and when I push the pedals the bike jumps – no much, no hesitation. I didn’t really understand that hesitation I was getting on the steel frame, that flex, until I tried something stiffer.

But the real feel was coming back down Tijeras Canyon late this morning. I was near the end of a three-hour ride, and I’d told LIssa I’d be home by noon. Hate to be late. The canyon is generally downhill, but with a lot of rollers, and I was bucking a headwind. But the new wheels, they felt like they were slicing through the wind, like it wasn’t there, and I was flying, faster than I’ve ever done that ride. At one point, on a downhill section, I was coming up on a guy who was pedaling to fight the wind. I just tucked and coasted and passed him.

Jaime seems almost as excited as I am about the new bike – he helped me shop smart for it, helped me think through the decisions. He’s been named the bicycle’s godfather. So it was fitting that we ended up, completely by accident, riding together Saturday morning on its maiden voyage. I was humping it down the bike trail along the river when I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey, nice bike.” Up beside me rode Jaime, in the midst of a long ride, so he tooled along with me as we made the climb through downtown and up to my house.

For the gear heads:

Airborne Thunderbolt frame
Shimano Ultegra gear, with a double chain ring in the front and a 12-27 in the back for going up the mountains
Speedplay X-3 pedals that my knees might live long and happy lives
Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, because you shouldn’t skimp on wheels