By pedaling Emmet
Roval, Fusee, A Selle, Enve, Sram are all CQ. Honest.
I didn’t know that it was possible to feel sorry for a bicycle. But I sure do.
My fabulous Trek Multi-Track 750 has been carrying my carcass around for about 20 years, one of the best investments I ever made. It was much better than that Florida land which was going to pay off my mortgage.
Marky Mark delivered it from Portland in his plow truck the same trip he brought home his new Harley Davidson. My $500 purchase seemed almost prudent compared to his $15,000 beauty.
Since then, I blush to admit it. But the Trek has logged far more miles in the back of cars and trucks then it ever did on the road.
Take this year’s 5,000 mile trek to Florida, baseball and the Pickled Parrot Lounge. On the way south I bypassed my traditional stop at Rocky Mount (Waffle House!) for a trip to the Outer Banks and a fabulous(free) condo on Manteo Island wrangled by Jefferson Phil, the king of the condo-camp wranglers.
It was a strange February, if you remember, and the road to the Outer Banks was caked with that “wintry mix” of snow and sleet. North Carolina sees very few snowstorms and has not bothered to purchase a snow plow or sand truck. But once I was half way to The Banks it was actually too dangerous to turn back. I inched my way along until I found the glorious, three story condo.
When I dismounted the Trek from my car, the wheels were frozen solid and the poor old chain was caked with rust.
Naturally, I had restorative surgery at the Area 51 bike shop in Charleston, a trip tradition. The Trek was thenin perfect shape for trips on the Suncoast toll road and the Withlacoochee Trail, my very favorite.
When I reluctantly saddled up for the trip north, I lashed the faithful Trek Multi-Trak on the bike rack. Did it rain? Yes, it rained, from Mark’s driveway in Spring Hill until Scarborough, non-stop. It was like a penalty for all those warm-weather Florida days by the pool. My wipers wore out.
The chain is all rusty again and the poor old thing needs some TLC.
Luckily, Men’s Journal Magazine arrived just in time. It was in the three foot pile of mags which have collected since I left. Amazingly, MJ carried a timely article on how to “Build a Better Bike.”
It started with the wheels. Now, I have never replaced a wheel on a bike and I have been pedaling since I was 10 or 11. But MJ suggested upgrading to Specialized Roval Fusee SLX 23 wheels for a mere $650. Not clear if that is for each tire, or for the pair. Make my pedaling more efficient, it suggested. Naturally, you need new tires for those $650 wheels. MJ suggests the Michelin Pro 4 Service Course at $75 a pop which are “tough enough for training but yet light enough to win races.”
How about a new saddle? I have an old, unique half-moon seat to eliminate that embarrassing numbness that comes from traditional seats. MJ suggested the A Selle Saddle for another $125 because it was “comfy and ergonomic with a channel to keep pressure off sensitive areas.”
Don’t think so.
You probably didn’t know it, but some handlebars vibrate, causing sore shoulders and poor handling. I did not know this. But I can cure this problem with Enve Road Handlebar at a mere $350. Hey, they have the “best strength-to stiffness ratio” and you know how important that is.
As you know, old bike levers tend to stick and lose tension and require more effort to control. (No comment, please.) I could cure this problem with Sram Red Double Tap brake-shift levers at a mere $619.
What about those pedals? I think they were replaced one year at Area 51. But that was a while ago. Old pedals have “worn bearings and springs that hurt your cranks.” (No comment, please.) A pair of Shimano PD-5700-C’s would cure that problem at a mere $150 the pair.
That would be $1,969 (according to my Roslindale High School math) for a bike that cost $500 20 years ago.
All right. I have an uncommon affection for that Trek. But not that uncommon. The best it can hope for is a quick $30 tune-up (and heavy greasing) at Maine Sport.
Yes, it has been my constant companion from Machias to Key West. But It’s a bicycle. Even I have my limits.
Maybe some new handlebar grips.