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How I started to Bike

  Pre-trip Notes


The Bike Route

My Ride Journal

News! Story Release! 


How I Started To Ride A Bike...  continued

Chapter III

            By the middle of February ’99 I was serious about finding the bicycle I needed to try a new type of bike riding and adventure. I wanted to get a bike I could ride on main and secondary roads in addition to eventually trying to go on one of those multi-day bike trips.  On the web I started reading some cycling forums where other cyclists would message to each other about bike riding, types of bikes, suggestions for each other when mechanical problems were asked, etc. These forums were just great places to tell each other how much enjoyment we get from riding a bicycle.  CyberCycle Forums gets into a women’s biking message board. is another good site for and by cyclists to learn about bikes and bicycling. I was learning a lot through surfing on to these web sites.  Occasionally I would jump in and post a question or comment.  These particular sites are mainly for those interested in road bikes/biking as opposed to mountain bike off-road bikes/biking.  I thought at the time I would like to see how the Terry Bicycle fit me.  These bikes were designed by a women for the shorter in height rider.  Most women have a shorter torso then men. Most bikes are designed for the longer torso of men, which for some women this is an uncomfortable reach from the saddle to the handle bars. And other factors were considered in the design of Terry bicycles.  The reach to the brake levers is shorter for the smaller hands of women, and she has designed (for both men and women) anatomically comfortable saddles with open cut-outs in just the right places.  Not every bike shop has on hand the Terry line of bikes.  A bike shop can order one in for you to try out – with no obligation to buy.  But I wanted to find a bike shop in the area that already carried this line of bicycle.  I was also thinking seriously that the way to go was to have a bike custom made.  This would entail having an expert bicycle fitter take precise measurements of my body and then having the bike builder construct a frame to fit me exactly.  I decided to go to Baer Wheels in Columbus, OH.  (The website to this shop comes up as *under construction*) This bike shop came highly recommended from the reading I was doing on the various web sites.  Dave Baer who owns the shop was very helpful, and I spent several hours at his shop while he helped me narrow down which bike would be the best for me for the kind of riding I was looking to do.  He told me all about the pluses and minuses of all the various materials that bike frames are made from.  There are light-weight steel frames made from Reynolds 853 steel, there are carbon fiber frames, aluminum frames, and extremely light titanium frames.  He had the Terry brand of bicycles in his shop.  But I could see after trying them, that they were not the right bike for me.  My biggest decision was what type of material I wanted my frame.  For a smooth ride I decided on steel – the newest light-weight steel - Reynolds 853.  I choose a carbon fiber fork.  Light weight, and absorbs road shock well.  Dave Baer showed me the Independent Fabrication line of bikes.  In fact he had in his shop the day I was there an IF bike that he was getting ready for someone to pick up the next day.  With the measurements that were taken, it was decided to order a custom frame from the Independent Fabrication bicycle manufacture.  They are located in Somerville, MA.  I chose the sport-road bike, their Crown Jewel model.  This would be a good bike to ride on road, up hills, and be comfortable on longer rides too.  After the frame and paint color were selected the order was ready to be sent to the IF company.   I selected all the various other components that would complete the building of my bike.  When the frame arrived from the frame builder, Baer Wheels would put on these components I selected.  Mr. Baer would hand build my wheels – strong and lasting.  I chose components made by Shimano, the  quality 105 series .  This was the triple ring crank arm, pedals, the STI type  shifters, the derailleur, the 9 ring rear cassette and a Flight Deck computer system.  We chose a shorter stem by Terry, the Terry narrower drop handle bars, and the Terry Butterfly saddle.  I had to choose the brand of chain I wanted, I had to select the tires I wanted. I chose a 23 cm Continental tire.  So many things to decide on, but with this expert's help I felt confident in what I was selecting.  I left his shop that February day confident I would be the owner of a great iron steed.  Of course I could hardly wait for the weeks to pass before my bike could be picked up.  Custom built bikes take time.  I spent the rest of those winter months exercising on my electric treadmill and on my NordicTrack ski machine.  This was to keep up with some aerobic conditioning that would benefit me when the outdoor biking season would begin.  It was mid-April when I got the call that my beautiful blue bike was ready for me to pick up.  When I arrived at the shop I just about cried when I saw the bike.  Honestly, I was so pleased, so excited because it was so pretty, it was so ‘my size.’  It was a little dream coming true owning this very lovely bike.  He put it on a stationery trainer and I got up on the bike and started pedaling. As the bike fitter watched me he was noting my position on the bike and he was making notes as to what needed to be adjusted for a perfect fit.  He dropped a plum line from the knee bone to see if it intersected with the middle of the pedal.  What he saw meant changing the saddle position up a little, and forward a little so that my knees wouldn’t hurt during pedaling and that I would get the most power from my legs with each turn of the cranks.  My cleats on the bottom of my bike shoes had to be adjusted in just the right fore and aft position.  The handlebars were adjusted to just the correct tilt so my weight was evenly distributed.  Every little thing was checked so I could ride away feeling comfortable on the bike.  Really a bike to be very comfortable for hours of riding it must ‘fit’ like the very best most comfortable shoes you have ever owned, or like a perfect fitting pair of fine leather gloves.  Just right!  So I now started to ride a road bike.  It definitely felt different to start riding this type of bike as compared to the mountain off-road that my Schwinn Sierra was.  My Independent was lighter, it was livelier, more responsive, and the narrow tires made for a lot less road resistance. 

            Of course my husband too was right in this with me, and he too was ready to go to on road bike riding.  He found a great road bike at Eddy’s Bike Shop in Stow at their big Spring sale during the first week in April. He bought a Cannondale R1000 nine speed.  So there we were set for the bike season to begin that year 1999!  But we did not know much of anything as to how to ride “on road”.  Next:  We join a bike club. 

To be continued. . .  

Sorry I'm not very fast getting this story written.  I have been very busy with my training to get ready for my cross country bike trip.  I'll continue this in-between times as often as possible!   In fact it is now time to leave for my trip.  When I return, I'll finish this "story".