Thursday, April 10, 2008

First Round Trip

After this, I’ll shut up about it, but I’ve just got to write one more first impression of the new bike, this one based on yesterday’s initial round-trip ride from home to school and back, first leg in the morning, last leg at night.


I’m going to have to get in much better shape or else the Tournesol is going to be the death of me; I can’t ride it slow enough not to get my heart rate up; with every turn of the cranks, it wants to go faster and faster, and I inevitably find myself huffing and puffing and trying to catch my breath as I try to keep up with the pace at which the bike wants to run.

A couple things really stand out: The Tournesol is remarkably stable; descending, I feel positively glued to the road. Usually, going down Martin Luther King from Union to Madison, I want to coast; on the Saluki, for instance, I can easily get up to over thirty miles and hour—plenty fast, typically—without pedaling. Yesterday, though, on the Sunflower Bike, I shifted into my highest gear and mashed the pedals all the way down the hill; I’ll bet I hit 40 MPH if not more; and still the bike tracked downhill without the slightest shudder.

And then climbing: on my ride out to Bothell, which is mostly flat, there are a few short, steepish uphills; my typical approach to them is to downshift to my granny ring and spin slowly until I crest the rise, my tongue just beginning to loll sideways in my mouth. On yesterday’s ride, though, I remained on the middle ring, in one of the smaller cogs, and practically flew to the tops, standing and pumping the last little bit, tongue between my teeth, breathing hard.

No doubt, as I get more used to the bike, I’ll start slowing down, but right now, it’s the Tournesol that’s taking me for a spin.


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