One reason that you haven't heard much from me in the last few days is that I've been shopping for a new road bike to ride in the 2006 cycling season. If you've read Operation Gadget for a while, you probably know that I like to participate in endurance cycling events and occasional duathlons, and I trained extensively for the 2005 Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Washington DC Fundraising Ride.
As the events I've trained for involve more mileage, it's become increasingly clear that I needed to switch from a mountain bike to a road bike. My wife Kathleen decided that this year was the best opportunity we would have for some time to get a good road bike for me, so she told my friends and family that she was starting Dave's Road Bike Fund and invited them to contribute to it for my birthday and Christmas.
When the surprise was sprung on me three weeks ago, my initial reaction was: Oh boy, now I can get an iPod and a road bike. Reality set in when I looked at how much money I would need to buy both without making significant compromises in iPod capacity or road bike performance.
I decided to buy a Trek 1500, the top-of-the line model in their Alpha Aluminum line. The suggested retail price of this bike is $1150 and I paid somewhat less than that at the dealer I chose, Jay's Cycles in Princeton, NJ. Trek makes a lot more expensive bikes, but, I felt that the 1500 was a good combination of price and performance for someone making the transition from mountain to road biking at my skill and training level.
I also want to say that my decision to purchase a Trek was heavily influenced by my experience covering the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team during 2005. My friend Bruce Turner from AMD put me in touch with some people at Trek like Michael Sagan who really believe in the products they make. I was able to learn a bit about Trek's design approach for pro-caliber bikes, embodied in the F-One partnership with other Discovery Team sponsors, and how that's improved Trek's bikes that I can afford. I felt that the 1500 was the right bike for me at this point in my life-- the full carbon fiber bikes will have to wait.
I'm planning to pick up my new bike tomorrow and I hope to be able to post some up-close photos of it within a few days. I rode it for about 10 minutes before I bought it, but I'm hoping for good weather, strong sun, and light winds one day before Christmas so I can get a longer ride in and post an article about the experience.