My husband and I are coming back into cycling after many, many years. So much has changed! I originally wanted to rehab my old 1977 Schwinn, but after a couple of trips to the LBS, I'm seduced by all the pretty!
As I did in 1977 before choosing my Schwinn, I've been doing a lot of research. Yesterday was a break through moment for me because I learned the hierarchy of Shimano components, so now I can look at specs and understand where bikes line up. Last fall when we made the decision to get bikes this spring, I decided a hybrid was probably the best for both of us. We live in the country on a gravel road, about a couple of miles away from an extensive bike trail system that covers so much of Iowa. Our number one goal is just to ride on all the nearby trails, the ones by us have a lot of distance, so there will be some longer rides. A long term goal is to progress to the point of getting involved with a group or team and perhaps participating in RAGBRAI. The hybrid appealed to me because of the better tire for the gravel we live on, I like the idea of just hoping on the bike and riding to the trail head, or riding other roads around us a little. The upright position appealed to me, my Schwinn is a road bike, and I never felt totally comfortable riding it, always wishing I'd bought the traditonal cruising style bike, but back then "racing bikes" were all the rage, so that's what I got. Btw, I am 55.
I have been to the LBS a couple of times, and I have a short list now of two bikes, both ladies Giants. The Escape 1 is my fitness/hybrid choice and I'm also considering the Avail 2 Road bike. I started out interested in a Trek, but at the moment, I really like the Giant. I was comparing a Trek 7.5 against the Escape, and like the slightly better components on the Escape for less money. Plus I like the black/berry model of the Escape. (Looks make a difference to me, at least until I can actually get on one) The more I research, the more I look to the future and wonder if I should consider the road bike.
So I like the looks and components of the Escape, the studier tires would be good for just hoping on and riding out my driveway and down our gravel road. But while I thought I wanted the flat handlebars, now I'm not so sure. So for me right now, the flat handlebars are the weak point. After a little research, I see that I can easily add some end bars to add some additional positions for my arms. It appears I can swap out the handle bars in the future, but I know I wouldn't want to do that right away. I hate the idea of getting something new and doing surgery on it before it barely gets dirty.
Ok, so the Avail 1 would be a nice road bike, but I am concerned about riding around our farm and on gravel. But I feel it would be a bike I could grow in to rather than out of.
So....get a nicely priced little hybrid, that will be good for our immediate terrain, and add some end bars for some added comfort. Or....spend a little more, get a road bike and look into changing the tires to a more gravel friendly style?
I'm concerned if I get the hybrid, and get involved with biking, I'll start to wish I had a road bike. It's still to cold here for test rides, though this weekend is promising. I figure I'll know much more when I give them both a test ride. I also plan to test ride a comparable Trek, because right now, my short list is based on looks and components only. In the end, I'm hoping a bike will say..."take me home"
Any thoughts that I should consider? ( and this is the "speak to other cyclists" part of the research process that was recommended in one of the books I've been reading