I'm 48 years old, work as a scientist outside the home and use to ride my cheap Bianchi ($300 almost 20 years ago) on 10-20 mile trips with friends before I had twins 9 years ago. I even rode during my first trimester (first 3 months of pregnancy). I'm 6 ft and weigh, unfortunately, 185 lbs - about 40 over my pre-pregnancy weight. So, I've started exercising again. And I want to buy a new bike.
I'm willing to spend some dollars on this bike with the assumption that this may be the last and only serious bike I buy. I live northwest of Boston, near Concord. For those not familiar with the area, it's a great place to ride. Lots of country roads - a mixture of flat and hills, the latter both gradual and steep. Early morning rides are phenomenally glorious. With that all being said, I've started to look for 'my' bike. I remember, with envy, borrowing friends' light road bikes that seemed to transport me effortlessly up the hills in Harvard, MA.
So I went to Belmont Wheelworks in Belmont MA and test rode a Trek 5200 WSD 56 cm. For male readers, the WSD suffix indicates that the frame is sized for a woman (i.e. long legs and short torso in a short height). I am short waisted BUT I have long arms AND long legs. I'm so use to a male Bianchi frame that this frame seemed a little cramped on the length. Maybe I just need to get use it to it.
As many of you know, this is a nice bike. My question is - is this too much bike for me or should I continue to consider it? The reason why I ask is that I wiped out on my test ride. Did you laugh?
Now this is only the third time in my life that I've fallen off a bike. I finally found some steep, albeit residential, hills in Belmont to test it on so that I could approximate the hills near my home. I'm not familiar with the new gear changers and so this took a little getting use to. Even in spite of not finding the sweet gear ratios for getting up steep inclines, this bike really knows how to climb hills. I wiped out when I was gradually coming down a hill; frequent stop signs required that I keep a slow speed. While I thought Iíd gone over the handle bars, I now believe - based on my experiential memory coming back and the bruises on my left side - that I must have braked faster on the front then the back and so lost my balance. I fell to the front left and watched the bike slide on its side, stopping 5 ft in front of me.
Other than some surface scrapes, and a left shoulder/arm stiffness that Iím dealing with the day after, I came away unscathed. But the bike didnít! The front wheel was extremely bent, as well as the front fork to some extent. I walked back to the bike shop (30 min) carrying the front of the bike. Now I know why I wanted a light bike Ė easier to carry! I am now $400 poorer ($200 for each component) and with no bike to speak of. Considering combined prices for the yellow Schwinn Varsity that I bought in 1970 and the Bianchi in 1985, I spent the same amount to test ride a bike!
So, with the above prolonged introduction, my questions to you are as follows:
Why did the wheel and fork bend? Can stopping improperly bend a wheel? Or did I catch the wheel in a pothole? Or did the weight distribution on falling bend the wheel? Any and all hypotheses considered.
Secondly, should I still consider this bike or is this too much bike? I think this may have been a freak accident due to my 9 year hiatus as well as having worked all day combined with this being an unfamiliar ride on unfamiliar terrain. But my husband is concerned about my safety. I am too! Also, while I like the lightness of this bike, is it ridiculous for me to consider a bike of this performance type? Can you suggest other bikes that I should consider and that donít weigh too much? Iím also concerned that if I buy a bike of this quality, that Iíll need to spend a lot of money to maintain it and that it will also require time on my part.
Iím open to any and all suggestions. Just donít kid me too much about my accident. As you might imagine, Iím now legendary at this bike shop.
Thanks. I appreciate your insights.
'Test-ride wipe-out (TRWO)'