Thursday, August 21, 2008

The importance of variety

My last post I mentioned both my (not very) expansive three-bike stable, and that I had to commute on my touring bike due to a flat on the commuter. One thing I didn't mention is the odd discomforts I felt riding it.

When I picked up the Trucker and did a brief test-ride it was the single most comfortable bike I had ever been on. For the most part that is still the case. One little thing I noticed is that the muscles at the base of my thumbs are extremely sore now, and while I was riding they felt unpleasant. Thinking about it this really isn't surprising. Most of my riding (in fact 100% for the last couple of months) has been commuting, on an upright. Getting back onto a bike with drops means having to support my weight in a different position, and the body isn't used to it.

For a long time I had only one bike, a mid '90s Trek 930 SingleTrack. I had it set up for commuting (somewhat, slicks and a rack) and I rode it everywhere. My friends were training for a tour and I did their rides on the Trek, I commuted on the Trek, I went shopping on the Trek. Then it was stolen. I ended up getting two bikes to fill its duties - the Speedster and a Raleigh SuperCourse. The Speedster just isn't great for longer rides and the SuperCourse is too much of a road bike (read: extra-skinny wheels) for daily commuting on Baltimore streets. Now I've added the Trucker. Unfortunately, my time lately hasn't allowed for a lot of pleasure riding, so it's nothing but utility, which means the Speedster.

The point? If you have more than one bike, especially if you have more than one type of bike, you need to put some time in the saddle of each of them. Your body will thank you for it and (perhaps more importantly) you'll get to enjoy all of the different types of riding.

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