I'm still in my rookie year, and have just discovered this forum. What a great place! Spokane (Washington) has incredible weather spring through fall, but this has been a terrible winter for cyclists. I learned to store my bike when my wheels went out from under me just before New Years. Landed on my shoulder and hurt so bad I almost threw up. So I'm swimming (shoulder is much better now) and cycling indoors, wondering "WILL IT EVER BE MARCH!!!!"
I think us newbies should have an informal initiation where we have to explain the defining experience that caused is to fall in love with cycling. At the risk of boring you to tears, I'll start it off. (You may want to jump to the last paragraph to skip the newbie zeal).
For me it was last summer, one weekend morning when my gym didn't open until 9 am! I'm an early riser, had finished my third cup of coffee, and couldn't sit still anymore. So I got on a beat up Wal Mart mountain bike I had been storing for years for a family member, and hit a paved trail. I'd been riding hours along the Spokane River, on my way back home, when I passed someone going the other way, and they said good morning.
This shocked me because that ride had so stimulated my senses it seemed like it should have been the middle of the afternoon! It was like, 9 am! Later I found out I was riding on low tires the whole time, and didn't even care (LOL).
I immediately spent about $150 on my wife's 1975 Schwinn, and wouldn't let myself invest in a new bike until I'd faithful ridden hers for six weeks. Six weeks later I got my new bike and I've never looked back. I guess what I love about riding is getting out of the house (it's where I have my portrait studio, and so I'm there almost 24 hours a day), and clearing my mind.
I'm eager to do my first century soon (which means finding a better saddle), and REALLY appreciate the info this site affords. Someone recommended the Koobi PRS. I think I'll give that a try.
So thank you to those running the site, and to those willing to pass on what they've learned. I've been impressed locally with the friendiness of all the cyclists in Spokane, and I'm sure the same Esprit de Corps thrives here. If you're interested in visiting our beautiful city, we have a Ride called the Tour de Lacs (a tour around some of our lakes) in September. It's a great event. The slogan for our city is: Near Nature, Near Perfect. We definitely have our problems, but if you ride around our lakes in September, I think you'll like our slogan! February can't end fast enough.