As part of getting prepared for triathlon training I thought it would be a good idea to actually find out if my old bike is in good enough condition to ride without falling apart (the bike or me). The bike is a pretty Peugeot Triathlon that I bought when I started cycling in 1989. Or thereabouts. I'd put some big miles on it back in the '90's but I hadn't touched it at all for at least 2 years. And hadn't done any serious cycling or maintenance for 5-7 years. It's been hanging upside down in my garage, occasionally bopping the unsuspecting passerby (usually me) upside the head.
My bro-in-law (on the step-side of the family) has become a bicycle fanatic. Several years back he started riding for fitness and now is riding centuries and collects and rehabs bikes. He works as a bike mechanic at a local sporting goods store and was the bike mechanic when my nephew did his Ironman Triathlon in support of his Man of the Year Campaign. I didn't really want to bother him with my bike issues but I wanted an honest opinion about whether it was worthwhile to put a little money into my bike now, or whether I should just cut my losses and go get a new one.
He enthusiastically agreed to take a look at my bike so last night I went over to their house for dinner and a bike discussion. He was expecting a bike in much worse condition than mine and agreed that with a little attention and a few parts it would be good as new and ready to ride. He did recommend that when I started doing more triathlons or longer triathlons I should get a time trial bike. Whoa! I haven't gotten to the first one yet, I'm surely not ready to plan future ones! Hey, I can't even run 3 miles right now, an Ironman doesn't seem like it's in my near future. Or distance future. Or any future, I'm too slow.
First off David had me sit on the bike and he adjusted the handlebars and brake positions. I basically bought the bike off the rack and although there were a bunch of customizations, it never was easy to get to the brakes in the drops so I just didn't ride that way. Amazing what a little tinkering will do. We stripped off the handlebar tape (boo hoo, it was pretty!) to reposition the brakes and he'll replace it with a gel-filled tape. Then he started going through part by part and most parts are in great shape. Of course I'll need new tires and tubes, since the old ones are too dried and worn, plus he's recommending a different type of tire. The chain is good, the gears are good enough, he might replace cables, and so on. I decided to get new pedals since mine have always been very stiff to release (and they're on the lightest setting); my knee won't take the twisting necessary to get out and I fall enough, I don't want to have either my knee torqued up or foot stuck. I definitely need new shoes since the old ones are way too small.
All in all it's going to cost me very little for the parts and I'll have a great bike again when it's all done. With this beautiful weather I'm looking forward to getting in the saddle again, but I know it'll take a while to get my road nerves back again. Especially with the tragic accidents recently. I think that'll be the hardest part about getting going. Even tougher than hills, which have always been my nemesis. I've turned into a big scaredy cat but I think practice will help there.
I'm getting closer and closer to being ready to start training!