Back in May, we took part in the California Classic bike ride, which was both fun and exhausting. At the time, Lucie and I spoke about tweaking our cycling equipment to make such long rides easier, since we're looking at similar or longer rides in our future. Some of the easiest ways to do this are to buy a new, lighter, bicycle; to massively swap out bike components for lighter ones on the current bike; or to add upgrades to e current bike to make cycling more efficient.
And we've both made tweaks, some more expensive than others, to accomplish this goal. For her part, Lucie bought cycling shoes and swapped out her standard pedals for clips, so she has a much more secure grip while pedaling and can get more oomph by lifting as well as pushing. In a possibly less efficiency-based adjustment, she's also changing as many bits and pieces as possible on her bike from the stock black to pink.. I believe this is purely aesthetic on her part, although it's possible that lighter colors also make the bike lighter; I didn't attend enough college to know for sure.
My tweak is substantially more expensive -- a new Trek road bike. It's not actually my idea, though; my wonderful wife gets it for me as an advance anniversary gift. I do try and resist at first, but 1) she's very persuasive, 2) I have a hard time saying no to her even when she's not trying to talk me into something, 3) once it's presented as being my anniversary present there's really no way I can say no, and 4) it's a really cool bike and I really want it even though I don't want to spend that kind of money on myself so having her buy it for me is a nice justification. Probably mostly that last one, if I had to be honest.
The new bike is a Trek FX 7.4, way incredibly light (compared to my Trek Shift 4 comfort bike at any rate; still a brick compared to some of the high-end bikes out there [though this is probably one of the lightest bikes that can still handle my weight! as most pure carbon frames aren't built for that high a max payload]) and thin (29-inch Presta tires instead of 26-inch Schraeder, so the tires are maybe an inch wide at most) and awesome looking with a matte black body color with blue striping.
During my test ride around the building when we're still "considering and debating" whether we're buying it or not, I get a much faster high speed than with my comfort bike, although the new positioning takes a lot of getting used to since I'm used to basically sitting upright on the comfort bike and with the road bike I'm leaning forward and it sure feels like I'm going to go flying over the handlebars when I brake. This feeling is somewhat intensified by the fact that the brakes on the road bike are much more responsive than on the comfort bike; feels funky at first but it's not anything to which I'd be unable to adapt so no worries.
The only thing about the bike about which I'm not entirely happy is the seat -- it's a streamlined seat to go along with the overall look of the bike, which is fine; it's just that my butt is larger than average and the seat is narrower than average... which isn't something that is very comfortable after more than ten minutes or so of riding. Luckily, I have the original seat from my first bike which -- while not as wide as the one which replaced it -- is a few inches wider and thicker than what comes stock on the road bike, and it's a simple switch to a more comfortable ride. This, combined with the padded bike bib I buy online, is good enough to where I'm able to ride for an extended amount of time without massive discomfort.
My first bike was also a Trek. Its name -- an obvious choice -- is Kirk. My next Trek, what would normally have been named -- also an obvious choice -- Picard, has, because of the firm and narrow seat with which it arrived, instead been named Crusher.