Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trying an upright

Friday morning's fog burned off by late morning and my beloved nemesis which I affectionately call "the western approach to the Route 28 bridge" was again visible for Friday evening's commute.

I hate you so much.
The incline might not be too bad if it weren't for that 3/4 of a mile of false flat leading up to it. Yeah, yeah: whine, moan, complain. ANYWAY, the commute home was gorgeous (and sweaty). The W&OD was again chock full of pedestrians and cyclists. I'm so amused by the explosion of activity on the trail since the official start of spring even though the weather has been so spring-like for so long that the cherry blossoms bloomed two weeks early.

I'd hoped to ride with the girls this weekend so they will be ready for Bike DC in May. Unfortunately, yesterday was a literal washout and today was simply too damp and chilly this morning to plan a "training" ride. Scott mentioned that he wanted some bar tape and we headed to the Ashburn Spokes -- via truck, sadly -- where he test rode a Specialized Crux while I chatted with SpokesPerson Chris about SPD pedals for the Dolce. I picked up a pedal wrench and a chain washer kit which should eliminate the grinding sound I'm hearing in the Ariel's chainring.

With my items plus bar tape minus Crux, we headed in to DC to visit BicycleSPACE which many local bike bloggers have raved about. While the shop could not be considered local to me by any stretch of the imagination (sixty mile round trip? I think not), it does have gorgeous accessories and bikes that I haven't found in any shop out here in Loudoun or western Fairfax. My main reason for visiting was the hope of testing a Pashley Britannia. What they currently have on the floor are a Princess Sovereign and a blush pink Poppy. The Poppy was much too pink for my taste and I swallowed my nerves, did my best to ignore the price tag, and took the Princess Sovereign out for a quick (and I do mean quick) test.

I felt like a kid learning how to ride a bike. The handling felt more squirrelly than the Dolce's and that puzzled me. I suppose it's the handlebar shape and position. I was super wobbly and "fell" (more like launched myself forward) off the seat a couple of times. Nothing bad happened to the bike; I would have sacrificed any necessary body part required to keep that pricey bike from touching the ground with anything other than its tires or kickstand. Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to keep from launching myself forward -- Oh! I just figured out what was going on: I can't touch the ground while on either the Ariel's or the Dolce's saddles and am used to leaping forward off the saddle to touch the ground after braking. Simply taking my foot off the pedal and putting it on the ground is unnatural to me -- and pedaled down to the corner, up the next street a bit, and back to the shop.

The clerk asked for my impressions. I told him I found riding the Princess difficult since I'm used to diamond frames and the posture is so very different. She's heavier than my current bikes, but not distressingly so. She also felt slower and more, dare I say it, regal. The clerk beamed.

I felt kind of bad leaving the shop empty-handed after a test ride. Was that rude? Despite all the cool accessories, I didn't need anything on the shelves... However, when I decide that an upright bike needs to join my collection, BicycleSPACE will be the first shop I go to.

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