Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shopping For A Road Bicycle

It's been only a couple of weeks since the topic of attempting the triathlon was first raised at the potluck dinner at Andrew's. I thought it's an appealing idea. Having conquered 3 marathons and several other shorter races, it seemed only natural to explore trying something else. However, I still have a couple of races lined up for the next couple of months, i.e. a half marathon in September, a 30km race in October, and another full marathon in November. I didn't think it's such a good idea to squeeze a triathlon into my race schedule. But God willing, I would like to try the triathlon next year.

Little did I know, Teo became so excited at the very mention of the word "triathlon". Within no time at all, he had flown to Manila to buy a GIANT road bike. And then last Sunday, while Dr Peter and I were running laboriously from the Likas Sport Complex to 1Borneo and back, Teo and Andrew did the same route on their bikes. Teo seemed so happy with his new toy.

After the long run, we met Dr Felice at the car park. She had her brandnew bike which she bought the day before. And she came complete with her sexy bicycle tights too. A bunch of them crowded around her. As we were talking, Mia approached the car park. She had just finished her 17km run.

Upon Felice's encouragement, Mia attempted her first ever ride on a bicycle in 35 years. I stood there looking at my wife riding a bicycle—wobbly and very robotic, and it made my knees go very weak just watching her in action. But she actually managed to balance herself on the bike for an amazing 10 metres or so. The next thing she needs to know, I think, is that in order to stop a moving bicycle, one is supposed to use the brakes, not by using the feet on the ground. I can't remember if I had to pick up my jaw from the ground, but at least now I'm more convinced that we can probably invest in a road bike each.

As I said, we are not in a big hurry to attempt a triathlon, although Teo and Andrew have already signed up for the Miri Sprint Triathlon at the end of October. But I reckoned that it would be good to buy a bike as soon as possible, so that we can practise riding for a bit. That way, perhaps by the time we begin to seriously train for a triathlon next year, we would no longer be starting from zero!

These days road bikes are a very complicated matter. I never knew that there are specific measurements and sizes for the riders. But thankfully, Andrew was kind enough to tell me a general guide on how to determine the suitable size. According to him, the way to find out is something like this:

Step 1:

Measure your inseam. This is best done barefooted. Stand against the wall and put a book between your legs so that it presses right up against your pelvic bone. Then make a mark with a pencil on the wall along the top of the book. Measure the distance from the floor to the mark in centimetres.

Step 2:

Use your inseam measurement to get the rough idea of your road bike size. Multiply the distance by 0.65. This will give you a good estimate of your road bike size measured centre to centre.

So this morning at the office, I thought I might as well find out what's the right size for my road bike. I went to the receptionist at the entrance lobby and asked for the measuring tape. Then I started measuring my inseam. She looked at me, puzzled. I entertained the idea of using a book pressed against my crotch as mentioned in Step 1 above. But in the end I decided against it, because I had the feeling that my receptionist would not dare to touch the phonebook after I was done with it.

Well, to make the long story short, I'm looking for a 50-cm frame, or size M. That should be about right, because after all Teo is riding a size M/L, which is a 53-cm frame.

In the mean time, a friend, Claire, who's also into marathons and surfing (not internet surfing!), and now triathlon, has been writing emails to the Merida distributor in KL to get some idea on bike models and prices. I think I can safely say that we should be having our bikes before the end of this month. But of course I still need to tell Mia how to use the brakes on the bike.

There will be other matters to deal with, of course—the scary thought of getting into a bicycle tights, since I can imagine that I won't look very sexy in tights like Kate Beckinsale.

Then there's the learning of the freestyle, although Teo and Andrew are talking about "Total Immersion Swimming". But I don't know if they're confused between swimming and scuba diving.

So much more to do in preparation for a triathlon in 2011. But I can see it all now—it's gonna be a lot of fun attempting a new challenge!

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