How to get the most from a test ride
Hello I am an individual who is just returning to cycling after a 28+ year hiatus. This summer I decided to start riding again. I’m 48 years old, 5’10”, 185 lbs and have had two vertebral disk fusions and a history of minor lower back issues. The Peugeot I own was not as comfortable as I once remembered her to be. With this in mind I thought I would not do well on drops so I opted for a hybrid to bring me back into the fold. I am looking to ride for fitness and to enjoy the overall experience. Wow things have changed in the past 30 years, I was so confused as to what to purchase. I settled on a Cannondale Adventure 600. For me this was not a bad choice, it made my transition back into the saddle less painful and thus allowed me to enjoy my time on the bike and to log some miles. As I improved I soon found the need to ditch the stock 38 tires and go to Conti Grand Prix 4 Season 28s. I also found that when my time in the saddle climbed to and past an hour per ride the stock seat, as soft and well made as it is, was becoming uncomfortable. After reading others views on saddles here and elsewhere I ordered a few to test and settled on a Koobi, PRS Enduro. Between the tires, the addition of bar ends and the new seat I am hooked. I started riding in Mid July and the heat was terrible, our hottest summer on record – great - but I tried to stick with it. I work early hours so I am able to get out and hit the road by 4:00 PM about 3x a week M-F and most Saturdays and Sundays. I’ve gone from 6 miles a day to 15 miles a day during the week and 20-30 miles a day on the weekend. My average pace has gone from short rides at 12 mph with plenty of panting to my current rides at an average15+ mph, and still panting - so I have made some progress.
I would like to add a lighter and more road bike like bike to my stable. I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the choices. Although I have access to 5 LBS, hands- on options are very limited. I’m looking at relaxed geometry like Specialized Roubaix and Sequoias, Lemond Big Sky, Cannondale Sport Road, Trek Pilot and 2100C et.al…. My problem is I have not found a single one of these to test ride and those bikes I have test ridden all feel OK for the 10 minutes I’m on them but from the little experience I have I know that I can not tell if a bike is going to be a good fit unless I can shake it out for an hour or so on varying terrain and pavement. BTW, as nice as the people are in our lbs the fit process goes like this - check stand over, adjust seat height and go for a spin around the parking lot or block. I am willing to spend up to $2000 for a bike but I want to know that it will be comfortable.
I would greatly appreciate any tips/advice on how to get the most out of a limited test ride.