Life is always easier if you're in the right gear.

Going Shopping

The other day a friend of mine posted some things on Facebook. These “things” were cute little outfits which will beautifully adorn her cute, petite body. There were pictures of dresses, skirts, boots, sandals and off the shoulder blouses. For a very brief moment, I wished I’d been a bit more committed to my weight loss goals this year, and, for a very brief moment, I wished I was spending some money on new clothes in smaller sizes. This feeling lasted for about three seconds. I’ve long since ceased with the clothing accumulation that is so prevalent in so many American closets. I’m not exactly the shopper type. I don’t hunt down deals. I don’t go terribly out of my way for a bargain. I don’t clip coupons and I hate, absolutely hate, the mall. But…a bike shop…now that’s an entirely different story altogether.
Today, I went shopping.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’ve been working for the last two years on saving up money to get a road bike. Now, let’s just be clear. Most people don’t understand how difficult this is. Also, most people don’t understand why the “perfect” road bike even matters.
“Just check out Craigslist. You might find something for a really great price, ” they tell me. They tell me this after learning that the entry level bike I am looking for could be as low as two grand and as high as nearly four grand. But Craigslist has some deals on bikes like these. Occasionally. The last really great deal I saw was a Specialized Amira for $1000 and I should have jumped on that because those bikes are $3K if they’re a dime and they sport a carbon fiber frame. But that bike is gone, and I’m a Craigslist groupie. I won’t find another deal like that for a while, and I need to be riding during that while. I also have this thing about my bikes, the way some people feel about their cars. They don’t let just anyone behind the wheel of their car. I don’t let anyone sit on my bike. The idea of sitting on someone else’s ride kind of creeps me out. I’m just saying.
So…today I went shopping.
Not for skirts or blouses or boots. I went shopping for the road bike I’ve been dreaming of for the last two years. In fact, all of 2012 was a complete disappointment because the one thing I wanted kept eluding me…my first personalized road bike (meaning, not someone else’s that doesn’t quite fit me). Even if I’d not found anything to my liking, I’d have had a great time just looking at the bikes, trying them out and talking to the shop guys about them.
Today, was a great shopping experience.
I had my bike picked out before I went in…sort of. I walked into the shop and immediately downsized to my next choice based on real world pricing. This bike would have cost me $1700. It would have been a sweet bike. But the cost of the bike is all in the upgrades, and not in the frame. And I didn’t even like the way the shifters handled. And, I couldn’t ride the EXACT bike I was going to buy because they didn’t have it in the shop, so I rode something close. The something close cost about half what the bike I originally wanted cost. The something close rode like a dream and, well, simply put, there was chemistry. I fell in love. And, when I fall in love, I tend to commit. The nice thing about it is she is half the price of the ride I was going to buy and…she’s much more attractive. But…I had a bike budget which I hadn’t used up.
So…I continued to shop. Or, more accurately, my son continued to shop for me. To make a long story short, we ended our shopping spree purchasing two road bikes (with pedals, shoes and accessories) for less than the price of the bike I originally went in to purchase…and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve just set my son up in a bike that can keep up with mine. He’s getting official shoes and pedals, and I have a sweet new ride that’s going to make those long rides to Ashland and back not so long.
I love shopping, when it involves bikes and pedals and components and gear. I’ll even get myself some sporty new shoes and a helmet in the deal, color coordinated with my new Dolce Compact. And while my friend is hanging out at the local wineries in her new attire, I’m going to be kicking it on a ride that is far better than any my friend is likely to hook up with. Fast, sleek and sexy. That’s my Dolce Compact with the PURPLE tape. Yep, I’m one of the cool kids now.

Here’s my new Dolce:


The bike my son (my favorite and most frequent cycling buddy) chose:


His bike is a Specialized Sirrus and he preferred the handlebars that weren’t the drops. I wanted the drops, he didn’t care so much. But, he also fell in love and, like his mother, he tends to commit. So there we were. In love and in the money. Those bikes are ours. What’s even better, my son will score some real cycling shoes which I think will help him not get so tired so easily.

So…in the words of Mackelmore with a bit of creative rewording…
“I’m gonna pop some tags.
I got several thousand dollars in my pocket.
I-I-I’m a hunting, looking for a come up
This is really awesome”

I know. Those aren’t the words, but I wanted to make this post family friendly. My Dolce Compact is not someone else’s treasure. She’s all mine. She’s my come up. This is really awesome!

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Hi, I'm Cat A.Olson, @According2Cat on Twitter, or @TheDigitalCat on Instagram, and I write about my cycling adventures. In 2010, after 25 years off the bike, I decided to get a bike and start riding again. In 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early and completely curable form of breast cancer. I had five weeks of radiation treatment and I rode my bike to nearly every treatment. In 2013, I decided to get a faster bike. I'm finally getting serious about losing weight, and riding really fast with the cool kids.

I ride every chance I get, as fast as I can, for as long as my body will allow. I'm learning how to embrace challenges like helmet hair, padded pants, clipless shoes, flat tires, bugs in my teeth, and...ugh...hills. I'm learning that both cycling and life are easier and a lot more fun when you're in the right gear.

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