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The Bike

January 16, 2011

As part of an extended bio, and to help provide a sense of my Pennies to the Kilometer (P2K) project to help raise money for Bikes to Rwanda, a little about what I’ll be riding. Cyclists like to talk about their bikes. I’m no different. While mine is a fairly basic road bike, I’m still very fond of it. And unless anyone would like to send me a Museeuw MF-XX to help the cause, I’m very happy with my Cannondale Caad9. It’s the basic, stock build with Shimano Tiagra components and Shimano wheels. Since money is always an object, I figured that I could more easily upgrade over the long term. New wheels and components will come in time. This past year, I added Specialized Roubaix bar tape, a Fizik Aliante saddle, and Speedplay pedals, all matched to black (because how a bike looks is almost as important as how it performs). I have to say that the Speedplays were a huge improvement and I’m hooked. They’re light and I love the float.

The Caad9 is an excellent bike and good value for money, compared with other road bikes. Its aluminum frame won’t win any popularity contests with the steel, titanium, and carbon frames out there, but it’s fast, stiff, and responsive, and it would be very difficult to justify what little speed I could pick up by spending another $1000+ on one of these sleeker bikes. Weight is invariably the name of the game in road racing, but I’ve also resigned myself to the fact that there are plenty of extra kilograms I ought to shave off the bike’s “engine” (me), before I start obsessing over the frame’s.

After riding with a computer for half the season, I also took that off the bike. I count kilometers online before and after a ride, and I think I’ve developed a pretty good sense of what my cadence is at any given time. So rather than obsessing about the numbers, I just get out and ride. Hard.

"Steampunk" will likely require another post to explain

One little addition is this decal (it’s not a sticker) where the top tube meets the seatpost, which comes from one of the coolest cycling sites on the interwebs. Velominati provides cyclists—beginner, serious, and pro alike—with the definitive Rules to which everyone must adhere (this is pretty much required reading). It’s a terrific community of folks around the world, wildly clever, devoted to cycling, pro cycling, and looking good while doing it (I’m wearing the Velominati kit in the bar at the top). And irreverent. The world needs more of that.

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