|Electra Daisy 3i, AKA "Stuart" - the bike that started it all|
|Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen|
|Whitcomb frame/fork from 1981 - I should know better; I have the "red bike curse" to contend with|
The more recent purchase was a Mercier that Sam purchased online, believing that it could be the perfect fit. Using the lightweight parts from the other failed builds, he set this one up and took it for a spin. He thought it seemed great and sent me out to give it a whirl. On my first ride out, however, it felt, well, odd, and as though I was going to be sent over the handlebars at any moment. It still didn't seem to have that feel I was looking for and had the added "bonus" of fitting strangely.
I've looked at a slew of bikes and thought, "maybe this one," but I can't spend (nor do I have it to spend) endless money on bicycles. In many ways, I need to take my own past advice and realize that if one cannot test ride a bicycle before buying, this is, unfortunately, what often happens. It's a huge trial and error process and getting frustrated helps no one. That, however, doesn't stop the frustration from taking place. Figuring out the next move is even more aggravating. Sam thinks that spending a smaller amount and continuing to try out frames is a good way to go. Some days I agree with him; other days, I have varying thoughts. I think about the idea of selling off everything except the Hillborne to fund a titanium road bike or something that I can find locally and actually try it before buying. However, even those test rides are often short and don't always provide the best insight into what will actually work over longer distances. I've considered renting a road bike for a longer term testing period at one of the local bike shops and moving forward from there, but that has its own costs associated with it, and it could end up being more expensive than the buying-and-selling merry-go-round process currently taking place.
Unfortunately, I don't necessarily have the answer at this moment in time, but I know that if I want to pursue road rides, I have to keep on with this process in some form. For someone who just wants to go out and ride, it is an amazingly daunting and time-consuming process. So much so, that I've had thoughts of just giving up the idea of finding what I'm looking for and riding what I have in whatever way I am able. I don't give up quite that easily though, so I have no doubt there is more trial and error in the future. At least I can take some solace knowing that there are others who have endured their own frustrations with finding the right bike - in whatever form that is for the individual - and know that eventually, the right one will come along.