Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trusty Schwinn

In February of 2012 I decided that I wanted to start cycling. At this point I had not ridden a bicycle since I was in elementary school. The task seemed daunting. What if I absolutely hated riding a bicycle? There must have been a reason that I hadn't done it in so long. Instead of going to a super fancy bike store and dishing out hundreds of dollars on a bike I might not use, I went to the local Walmart and purchased this baby for $145:

This is a women’s 26 inch Schwinn hybrid bicycle. Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking-- “Seriously? A Walmart bike?” Well, let me tell you something.. this bike is one of Walmart’s best kept secrets. My trusty Schwinn has carried me over 800 miles (845 miles to be exact) since I bought it in early 2012. It has kept me active through two knee injuries from running. This bicycle has been a great investment in my health for a pretty low cost. If you work out the math I’m currently at $0.17 per mile based on what I paid and how many miles I have on the bike thus far.

As with most things, there were a few “non-ideal” traits about this bicycle: a creaky pedal, a seat that would make my legs go numb after a 20+ mile ride, and a front brake which continues to rub if you hit it too hard. Luckily, none of these are deal breakers. The creaky pedal magically fixed itself. The seat was replaced last October (Thanks Nick!). And as far as the brake goes-- you just have to be careful to not slam on it too hard (or be willing to pull over and adjust it mid-ride).

Sometimes I see friends with their fancy road bikes and it makes me very envious. I wish my bike looked that nice. I wish my bike was as light as that one. I wish I had a road bike so I could go faster. But then I snap out of it. Do I really need those things? The answer is no. Eventually my trusty Schwinn will die and I’ll be forced to buy a new bicycle. When that happens, I will probably take the plunge and buy a fancy bicycle. But for now I am content.

This past Sunday Nick and I took our bicycles on a long bike tour of St. Mary’s County. The total trip was approximately 27 miles. The route was full of hills (which turns me into a major complain-y pants).  But there were also some sections of very FAST road. The MapMyRun app said that mile 4 I averaged 15.2 mph and finished that mile in 3:54 min and mile 9 I averaged 15.3 mph and finished that mile in 3:54. Holy cow that’s fast for a hybrid bike! The rest of my splits were kind of all over the place. I actually did get off my bike at one point to walk up an extra steep hill.

The route was scenic and it was a nice day for a bike ride. There was also mint chocolate chip ice cream after the ride :) 

Remember that when you’re out there riding your bicycle to be safe! If you’re a driver-- always watch out for cyclist on the road/shoulder and make sure to give them 3 ft or more when passing (Maryland Law).

So Tell me—do you have a product that you swear by, but others kind of give you that “Seriously? You bought that where?” kind of reaction? I’d love to hear about it! :)