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  1. #1
    Senior Member Slothman's Avatar
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    Looking for a bike - Suggestions?

    Hello all!
    I'm brand new to BikeForums, and brand new to biking. I've been using a friend's Trek MTB since last summer (on road & on trainer over the winter) in order to help me train for a sprint triathlon this summer.

    I am 6' to 6'1, 271 pounds, with a 30 inch inseam. I seem to fit a 58cm road bike.

    I am currently looking for a bike - new or used - for around or under $700. I'm looking for a road bike that ... will be good for a starter, but will also be one that isn't something I'll want to get rid of by the end of this summer.

    I have ridden a '07 Giant OCR3, '07 Giant OCR1, a couple Klein - frame build ups, and an older Schwinn.
    I will be looking at Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized tomorrow night, and hopefully will be riding a few.

    I've got a couple questions:
    1. What bike(s) have you had that worked well for a starter? What would you recommend?
    2. What are some good online used shops to watch (besides eBay and craigslist)?

    Thanks for all of your help!

  2. #2
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    For your price range, the OCR3 is a good choice, though you might get better bang for your buck going used. Buying online is ok if the seller is local so you can see and test ride the bike, but you may be better off shopping your LBS to at least do some test rides and get an idea of what brand/model suits your fancy, not to mention what sizes of those makes/models fit you best.

    You might also check out performancebike.com and bikesdirect.com for new bikes you can get online, once you have a better idea of what you want and need. Also see the Under $750 Road Bike thread: New & Improved : The Under $750 Roadbike Thread
    Last edited by chipcom; 02-22-07 at 05:44 PM.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Senior Member Green Jager's Avatar
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    I started with a Giant OCR1 and it was a great bike . Now I went to an OCR C1 carbon.

  4. #4
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    you need strong wheels

    Quote Originally Posted by Slothman
    Hello all!
    I'm brand new to BikeForums, and brand new to biking. I've been using a friend's Trek MTB since last summer (on road & on trainer over the winter) in order to help me train for a sprint triathlon this summer.

    I am 6' to 6'1, 271 pounds, with a 30 inch inseam. I seem to fit a 58cm road bike.

    I am currently looking for a bike - new or used - for around or under $700. I'm looking for a road bike that ... will be good for a starter, but will also be one that isn't something I'll want to get rid of by the end of this summer.

    I have ridden a '07 Giant OCR3, '07 Giant OCR1, a couple Klein - frame build ups, and an older Schwinn.
    I will be looking at Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized tomorrow night, and hopefully will be riding a few.

    I've got a couple questions:
    1. What bike(s) have you had that worked well for a starter? What would you recommend?
    2. What are some good online used shops to watch (besides eBay and craigslist)?

    Thanks for all of your help!

    In my opinion - you need very strong wheels

    this Bottecchia has wheels that can easily handle your weight
    plus a high grade frame & fork and 27 speed Shimano Tiagra / 105 mix
    plus good crank and great brakes

    http://cgi.ebay.com/BOTTECCHIA-2007-...QQcmdZViewItem

  5. #5
    a van down by the river STewmeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikesdirect_com
    In my opinion - you need very strong wheels

    this Bottecchia has wheels that can easily handle your weight
    plus a high grade frame & fork and 27 speed Shimano Tiagra / 105 mix
    plus good crank and great brakes

    http://cgi.ebay.com/BOTTECCHIA-2007-...QQcmdZViewItem
    not that he's trying to sell you one of his bikes huh...

    I've got a Lemond Reno - good bike & it has held up well
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  6. #6
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    Personally, I'd go with a touring bike. Steel frame, 36 spoke wheels, and 28mm tires. When I was new to biking I thought I would need to get be a "fast" bike. I started with an aluminum frame Specialized Allez Elite w/carbon fork. I didn't particularly think the ride was that rough on the roads I was riding and bike paths. I had 23 mm tires as 100 psi. I wanted to be on my bike anytime that was feasible... this included commuting, family rides hauling gear, as well as fitness/conditioning rides. Well, the road bike wasn't built for all these things. I also have plans to do the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride in one day. I found that 3 hours on the road bike was about the max I could stand without at least an hour or two rest.. then I got sore sooner than 3 hours on the next leg.

    So, even though I got a great deal on the road bike from craigslist, after 6 months I found myself in the market for an "all-purpose" bike. I road a steel touring bike (trek 520) and I fell in love with the feel of this bike. The touring bike met all my needs... great for commuting (racks, panniers, bags), It's very comfortable.. I could stay on all day, It's fast enough for me at this point in time.

    I rode several touring bikes. The best that I could afford that had all the features that I wanted (STI shifters - bar ends are usually what are on touring bikes) was a bike called the Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30. You can see pics and posts in the touring forum. Anyway, I can see myself keeping this bike for a long time and riding it daily as my commuter, and doing all my longer rides on it... 50-200 miles.

    I still love the way race/road bikes look. And they are fast! Maybe someday my level of fitness (and weight) will be ideal for riding a road bike and doing long rides. But the road bikes are too stiff for me to stay on a long time. And if i'm going to keep cycling and getting in shape, my bike better be a joy to be on for long periods of time.

    Now granted, I've heard good things about carbon fiber. I don't know how well they hold up to the stress of clydesdale weight and as a beginner, my bikes get banged around a bit.. I'd hate to bust up a 1500-3000 dollar frame. (plus.. you aren't going to carbon fiber for $700)

    So, at least consider a touring bike. At least test ride one. It may serve more purposes than you intend as you begin your cycling life. And, if you decide against it, at least you can say that you did your homework.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    For your price range, the OCR3 is a good choice, though you might get better bang for your buck going used. Buying online is ok if the seller is local so you can see and test ride the bike, but you may be better off shopping your LBS to at least do some test rides and get an idea of what brand/model suits your fancy, not to mention what sizes of those makes/models fit you best.

    You might also check out performancebike.com and bikesdirect.com for new bikes you can get online, once you have a better idea of what you want and need. Also see the Under $750 Road Bike thread: New & Improved : The Under $750 Roadbike Thread
    Although I haven't seen one in the flesh, Jamis has a number of very impressive bikes for $700 or less. The Ventura Comp would be a good choice, as would the Ventura Sport or the Satellite. The Aurora, while not a great touring bike, would be a very nice starter bike.

    The Schwinn LeTours look good too.

    The Specialized Sequoia wouldn't be a bad choice either. Lots of dealers around for the Specialized (as well as the Giant) so the selection should be good.

    Since you are new to cycling, Slothman, you should probably stick with a brick and mortar shop. If you don't know how to fit the bike, a shop should help. Since you also don't know much about bikes, it's tough to know what to look for in a used bike also.
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Ktmartin's Avatar
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    I agree, buy a bike from a local bike shop (or LBS), they will fit you to a bike and service it for life. Just try a few and see what feels the best. My first bike at 250 lbs was a Trek 2100 and it has been fine for my weight and the quality of the ride. But, make sure someone is there to service your bike or else you are stuck with an out of tune bike and you will be miserable.
    2006 TREK 2100

  9. #9
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    bike for us big dudes

    I'd check out Performance bike and test ride a Fuji Touring bike. The price is around $700, steel frame, all the braze on mounting points that you'd expect a touring bike to have and room for wider tires. I think it comes with 36 spoke wheels and 35mm tires with decent gearing. You may however want to look at a Surly Long Haul Trucker as a complete bike and plan to pay a couple hundred more for a superior machine with sensible parts, excellent gearing and good value.

    I ride older 80's vintage lugged steel bikes that have been rebuilt with new parts. These can be had for as little as $50 and with a little searching you can end up with a really nice bike. New parts can be added as you go and as money allows. Finally fresh paint or powdercoat just makes your project look better than a new bike. For a sample, see my bikes at: http://www.myspace.com/eccentriccyclistcharlie
    Last edited by charles vail; 02-23-07 at 12:47 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Slothman's Avatar
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    Thanks everybody for the good advice! Everything has been useful. Concerning the online shops - I definitely won't be buyng from an online shop unless 1) I've ridden the exact model and 2)it's WAY cheaper than at my LBS. With these conditions, the chances of me buying from an online shop is pretty close to nil.

    It seems more of you are leaning towards suggesting a touring bike. I understand that I'm not fast, and that a "fast" bike isn't going to help me out more than losing weight, but ... I still seem to have a mental block against them. When I hear the word "touring," I think "slow, heavy, comfortable." The only good part of that is "comfortable." Could you all help clear up this block I have? I'm inclined to think that I'm wrong - because it's all based on how I feel about the word "touring" as opposed to "racing." Do (or did) any of you use touring bikes for doing small races like sprint triathlons? I will probably use the bike to go on weekend rides with a group of friends that ride racing bikes - will that be a problem riding a touring?

    Oh man. Sorry to get so long winded on that one, but as trace22clawson said, I should do my homework on the touring bikes. I don't want to rule out the right bike for me just because I have a feeling about it's title.

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothman
    It seems more of you are leaning towards suggesting a touring bike. I understand that I'm not fast, and that a "fast" bike isn't going to help me out more than losing weight, but ... I still seem to have a mental block against them. When I hear the word "touring," I think "slow, heavy, comfortable." The only good part of that is "comfortable." Could you all help clear up this block I have? I'm inclined to think that I'm wrong - because it's all based on how I feel about the word "touring" as opposed to "racing." Do (or did) any of you use touring bikes for doing small races like sprint triathlons? I will probably use the bike to go on weekend rides with a group of friends that ride racing bikes - will that be a problem riding a touring?
    It ain't the bike...it's the motor that makes it fast The only road bike I had for nearly 20 years was a touring bike. It didn't stop me from doing the Ft. Lupton century (a very flat Colorado century) in 5.5 hours nor did it stop me from doing the Hardscrabble Century (a very hilly century including a climb from around 6000 ft to over 10,000 ft in the first 20 miles) in 7.5 hours. My current touring bike still allows me to hang with just about any of the club riders I ride with.

    I will say that touring bikes are a little slow steering then a race bike and perhaps a bit heavier but remember that these are bikes built for adventure. Race bikes are built for speed and little else. Both have their place. If you want speed, look at the Jamis Venturas. But if you think you'll ever want to go out and see the world from the saddle of a bike, get a touring bike.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
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  12. #12
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    I totally agree with cyccocommute. When you step back and think about it... are any of us clydesdales "fast?" If we want to go fast, we have to get into shape first. And I think that means getting out of the clydesdale category (unless you're over 6'5" then just slightly over 200 lbs is probably good for a "fast" cyclist.) I can get my touring bike down to about 25 lbs by removing fenders, racks, swithching out the wheels and tires for better rolling on a long supported ride. I think the threshold for a good road/racing bike is under 20 lbs. So 5 lbs on a bike isn't going to make a huge difference in speed if we are willing to carry around an extra 50 - 100 lbs on our bodies.

    Here is how I think about touring bikes. A good road bike is a ferarri (you better know how to ride.. or this can be dangerous.) A touring bike when set up for mostly road riding is like a Honda Accord... comfortable, yet still pretty zippy. Now you can equip your touring bike like an SUV for camping, self supported tours, and even do off-road riding with it.

    I say enjoy riding. Be comfortable. You can still push this bike hard and fast. It's going to still outperform almost any clydesdale that wants to go "fast." And, you know, us clydesdales are fast.... going downhill... and I'd much rather be on my touring bike then than a twitchy road frame! Like I said, someday I want to get the nice road bike (ferarri) but I'm holding off until I work myself out of the clydesdale category. It'll be a nice reward! By then I'll know that I'm fit, and most likely fast enough that I'll be able to stay on that road frame for 6-7 hours... but, anything longer than that, I can't see myself riding anything but my touring bike.

    (don't think of a touring bike as a big, low-riding cadillac, with squishy suspension... it's not that at all!)

  13. #13
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    wow

    Quote Originally Posted by Slothman
    Thanks everybody for the good advice! Everything has been useful. Concerning the online shops - I definitely won't be buyng from an online shop unless 1) I've ridden the exact model and 2)it's WAY cheaper than at my LBS. With these conditions, the chances of me buying from an online shop is pretty close to nil.

    It seems more of you are leaning towards suggesting a touring bike. I understand that I'm not fast, and that a "fast" bike isn't going to help me out more than losing weight, but ... I still seem to have a mental block against them. When I hear the word "touring," I think "slow, heavy, comfortable." The only good part of that is "comfortable." Could you all help clear up this block I have? I'm inclined to think that I'm wrong - because it's all based on how I feel about the word "touring" as opposed to "racing." Do (or did) any of you use touring bikes for doing small races like sprint triathlons? I will probably use the bike to go on weekend rides with a group of friends that ride racing bikes - will that be a problem riding a touring?

    Oh man. Sorry to get so long winded on that one, but as trace22clawson said, I should do my homework on the touring bikes. I don't want to rule out the right bike for me just because I have a feeling about it's title.

    Thanks again!
    Slothman......you have been brainwashed, in typical fashion, like so many others, by the marketing ploys of countless bicycle companies that profit from new riders buying the latest racing bike because thats what (you name them) the latest racing pro rides.

    Lets face it, true paid racers need racing bikes, real world riders need a bike they can ride for years and not suffer needlessly. A "touring" bike is simply a longer wheelbase machine that is made to carry a load and built to take the weight whether that is from a load of baggage or a load of extra beef! The extra few pounds of bike weight will make the machine last longer especially if its made of high quality steel and the relaxed frame angles and long chainstays will make for a supreme ride. The ability to use wider tires and mount fenders and racks will be appreciated if you ever ride on wet roads or in rain and if you want to carry your extra stuff to work and not wear a backpack that makes you sweat even more and is balanced too high.
    Ignore what you buddies are riding especially if they are flyweights! Go to a serious shop where the owner actually rides and/or they build bike frames and ask what really works. For the lightweight jock on a sunny day, riding on pristine roads, a flimsy race bike, with skinny tires (that you will flat more often) is fast to ride but as someone already compaired it to......a ferrari is not a practical machine for everyday use and what we need is a pickup truck or a 4-door sedan. Buy a Surly long haul trucker bike, you won't be sorry.
    My bikes: http://www.myspace.com/eccentriccyclistcharlie

    There's no support car where I am riding!
    Last edited by charles vail; 02-23-07 at 01:11 PM.

  14. #14
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Ya know guys, I love my touring bike, but I also love my road bike and my xcross bike - and the OP wasn't asking about touring bikes. Just because he's a clyde doesn't mean he has to have a touring bike. The only difference between a road bike frame and a touring frame of the same material is geometry and braze-ons. I don't think anyone can come up with a measurable difference in strength (maybe weight)...again for the same material. A road or xcross bike with a good wheelset and maybe a more upright position will do the OP just fine. I had a 2004 OCR3 myself (6'1" 230) , put a rear rack on it and put about 5k on it, including centuries and some overnight tours, before giving it to the kid. All road bikes are not fragile little things that a Clyde should never consider. Just sayin...
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Ya know guys, I love my touring bike, but I also love my road bike and my xcross bike - and the OP wasn't asking about touring bikes. Just because he's a clyde doesn't mean he has to have a touring bike. The only difference between a road bike frame and a touring frame of the same material is geometry and braze-ons. I don't think anyone can come up with a measurable difference in strength (maybe weight)...again for the same material. A road or xcross bike with a good wheelset and maybe a more upright position will do the OP just fine. I had a 2004 OCR3 myself (6'1" 230) , put a rear rack on it and put about 5k on it, including centuries and some overnight tours, before giving it to the kid. All road bikes are not fragile little things that a Clyde should never consider. Just sayin...
    Yep. And that's why I was aiming him at the Jamis bikes. According the Bicycling Mag, the Jamis Ventura Comp is a 20 lb entry level bike for around $700. Ten years ago a 20 lb bike was elite level!

    The only thing I'd look for in any road bike would be a convential spoke count wheel (at least 32 in the rear) and maybe not a whole lot of carbon. Otherwise, we should be able to ride just about anything.
    Stuart Black
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    I was just stating my experience and my opinions. I feel like I made a mistake in buying a road bike as my first bike. Yes, if you got the $$'s, the storage, etc. Get one of each... road/cyclocross/touring/mountain/hybrid... but he said he wants to spend about $700 and he's new to biking. I do like your suggestion of a cyclocross bike for a newbie... but I still feel that it's more limited than a touring bike. I dunno, can you get a good quality road bike that you would be happy with for $700 these days? I mean, if you really get into the roadie thing... aren't you going to want the carbon frame, the ultegra/dura ace components, the $1000 wheel sets cuz that's what everyone is hyping and that's what the guys on TV ride? I just think for $700 you go for a good quality all-purpose bike that you can be happy with for a long time. Then if you really get into it... add those other bikes to your collection and make sure they are top quality so you'll be happy with them for a long while too.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ktmartin's Avatar
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    I say go with a bike that you feel will reward you when you do reach your goal weight, for me an Ultegra bike is plenty reward, a touring bike is just that, a touring bike. Read Mike Magnuson's book "Heft on Wheels" it changed my view of losing weight: to becoming a better cyclist and the weight will come off, that has to be your goal otherwise losing weight will become a job. Buy what you feel will be the best once you become fit enough to get all you can out of it. My $.02.

    In the end, just buy what will make you want to ride the most.
    2006 TREK 2100

  18. #18
    Senior Member Slothman's Avatar
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    Wow. This is awesome. Thanks again, everybody.
    I think that ... I'll be going with whatever bike fits my budget, fits me, and I like the look (and name ... I sat on a Specialized Seqouia last Friday - snowing, so no outdoor riding. .. but .. I went to an elementary school of the same name for a brief time ... had some bad experiences - nothing like abuse or anything, it was just a bad school. Anyway, I just can't fathom riding a bike named Seqouia now. Oh well.)
    I did find out that a "comfort" road bike is not the same as touring, and that made me happier Haha. Anyway, the touring bikes definitely seem to be something that would be a better fit for overall biking. I'm not sure if I want to do that, though. I like what ktmartin said:
    Buy what you feel will be the best once you become fit enough to get all you can out of it.
    I'm rambling, and don't have much time for this response. All in all, I think I have been edu-macated gooder about touring bikes, and am less inclined to lean away from them (or is that 'reclined'?)

    Okay, now I'm just getting silly.

    Thanks again! I'll check out the Jamis Venturas and keep this all in mind when I go to the biggest bike sale around every year ... Bike-O-Rama in Madison! Whoo hoo!

  19. #19
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    +1 on the Rocky Mountain Sherpa!

  20. #20
    fishologist cohophysh's Avatar
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    just beware that if you want to tour, a road bike may not have all the holes to support the racks that a tour bike probably has. Like the others said, go to the LBS and ride...I am surprised you are a 58 with a 30 inch inseam....I have a 30 inch inseam and fit a 56...make sure you are measuring from the crotch down to the floor. There are also some websites that you plug in your measurements and it gives you a rough estimate of what size bike you should start with..

    Good luck and make sure to show pix....Trek has some nice road bikes for under 1K
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    measurements

    Lets not confuse inseam (trouser measurement) with the measurement from the floor to the pubic bone feet ten inches apart in your bare feet. If he is 6'1" he probably but not neccessarily has a 34 inch measurement (pubic bone to floor) in this case a 58cm frame would be about right.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Slothman's Avatar
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    Well, I made my purchase yesterday - '06 Giant OCR 2. I found the only bike shop in the area that had a large, and at the right price ($720). I rode a Trek 1500 and sat on a Specialized Allez (on a trainer - didn't fit well) - I liked the way the Trek felt, but it was out of my price range (an '06 1200 or '07 1000 would have been in there, I think), and the Giant could approximate the more aggresive feel by adjusting the stem down a bit. I'm happy with my purchase - the bike is great, the components are just what I wanted (specifically Tiagra shifters, 105 rear derailleur) - and I can't wait to get out and ride it! Thanks everybody for your input - it helped tremendously.

    Look! I have a cool "this is my bike" signature now!
    '06 Giant OCR 2, '12 Surly LHT

  23. #23
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    what size was the bike? I was surprised you were looking at a 58. Is that what you ended up getting?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Slothman's Avatar
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    The Giants come in S, M, L, etc. I got a Large. I'm not sure what size range that is comparable to. I originally was looking for 58s because that's what I seemed to fit at the used bike shop. The Specialized LBS said I should ride a 56 (which felt much larger than the 58s I was riding - probably had something to do with different geometries), and the Trek LBS said I should be on a 60.
    '06 Giant OCR 2, '12 Surly LHT

  25. #25
    Senior Member Slothman's Avatar
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    Update: I finally was able to get out on my bike. It was ... AWESOME! I love it! It was a 14.5 mile ride, with a head wind the way out and tail wind on the way back. It was great.

    And, for your enjoyment, erm ... enjoy this pic of me & my bike this past weekend:

    '06 Giant OCR 2, '12 Surly LHT

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