Earlier in the year, I saw all these people around the office wearing Google Bike To Work t-shirts, and I sort of found them cool. No, I found that the t-shirt made the people look cool, so I coveted one almost instantly. I didn't think I could actually get one of these. I hadn't regularly ridden a bicycle since high school, and only recently rode my wife's cruiser around town to do minor errands. If you don't know what a cruiser is, it might help you to know that I call it my wife's 'grandma' bike, and she usually responds by ringing its bell.
In addition to being out of practice (and out of shape, no less,) my commute required driving through real traffic. So when the opportunity arose to bike to work during this year's Bike To Work Week, I jumped at it. You must understand, I didn't do it because of the health benefits or the cost savings. I did it for that t-shirt. Yes, I am that shallow.
Purchasing a Bike
First thing I needed to do was purchase a bike. I did the least amount of research available by picking the style of bike I wanted. In my 20's I bought a friend's racing bike, which I acknowledge was a superior bike for the amount I paid for it, but I never found racing handlebars comfortable, nor did I feel safe bent so far forward. I settled on the notion of a comfort bike. I asked my coworker Steve to accompany me to a local bike shop, and we settled on one of the many Helen's Cycles in the Los Angeles area. I didn't feel like wasting time and comparison shopping, so after a few minutes and a 5-minute test ride, I settled on the Trek Navigator 200. It felt comfortable, had nifty new features I'd never heard of before (though have since learned are fairly standard nowdays) and I didn't get any signs of disapproval from Steve. Plus, it wasn't too hard on my wallet, so that felt good. I finally had a bike, and a month to get up to 20 miles a day!
(to be continued)