Hi everyone! It’s been two weeks since my last edition of the Tri Newbie Chronicles, but I have to be honest – last week I was planning on posting about the run portion of the tri, but after finding out that my injury had returned I was just not mentally able to do it. I’m still trying to get over the fact that running is not going to be happening during this tri training, and that’s okay. I will walk those final 4 miles and then run the last 30 seconds!
Anyways, today’s Tri Newbie Chronicles is all about the bike! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I bought a brand new road bike last week. I have a really crappy mountain bike that I bought at Fred Meyer for $79 last spring, and I’ve only used it like twice. Why? Because it’s incredibly heavy and slow, and is poorly made. It’s not easy or comfortable to use, so I never want to use it. And I was totally dreading using it in the Gold Nugget Tri, especially because I know there will be hills and my mountain bike was going to be crazy slow. So I decided that I’d probably need to get a road bike for the race, and since I’m injured and can’t register for the 5 billion races that I normally do each year, I figured I could use that money to buy a better quality bike! I had the following considerations when choosing my bike:
- Must be lightweight and faster than my mountain bike.
- Must be under $500. Let’s face it, I’m going to end up beating this thing up as I learn how to properly care for a bike (and how to not fall), so I don’t want to spend a ton.
- Must be cute and something I will be proud to ride around town!
- Must have good reviews and include good, long lasting parts.
- Unisex road bike design – I don’t need a women’s specific bike with my body type.
When looking at bikes in Anchorage that fit this description, I was pretty much left with Craigslist bikes. I couldn’t afford anything in a bike shop, and I didn’t want to buy something from a big box store again because those bikes are so poorly made. The problem with Craigslist is that you don’t know how well someone has taken care of their bike, and you have to pay cash which I can’t really do now that we’re purchasing a house. So I got creative, and looked at getting one shipped free from Amazon using Amazon Prime. And I was immediately overwhelmed by all of my choices! There are a billion bikes on that website that fit my criteria, and the reviews are all over the place. So I did a simple google search for “Best cheap road bikes” and came up with tons of lists of bikes to check out. This site in particular was really helpful for me, because I realized that I can afford a good road bike! I ended up going with bike #3 on that list because it was also featured on almost every other list out there, and I loved that it had the Shimano shifters and other higher level parts. I did extensively read the reviews, and while I know it’s not my “forever bike”, it’s going to be perfect to get me started with triathlons. Plus I can ride it all summer long!
I bought the Vilano Shadow Road Bike in white for $350 with free shipping. When it comes to shipping costs to get things to Alaska, that was a killer deal! When my bike got here I immediately dropped it off at a local bike shop to get it professionally assembled. It cost $80 but there was no way I could have confidently assembled a bike on my own at this point in my life. It also gave me peace of mind that everything was in perfect working condition and I could ride without worrying about it falling apart. They helped fit the seat to my height too! I can’t recommend this step enough if you do choose to buy online. I also plan on going to a clinic at a local bike shop where I can learn how to maintain my bike and change a flat. Many bike shops should have these classes for free (REI does too!) so make sure to check that out once you’ve made your purchase!
Overall, I highly recommend buying your first road bike online. If you can afford to buy something from a bike shop, that would probably be ideal. But for my first little bike this is all that I needed, and I was still able to get assembly and support from my local bike shop to give me extra confidence that I’d picked out a good bike. I’m so excited to finally have a bike that is speedy, comfortable, and makes me feel like a triathlete!
Have you ever bought a bike online? How did you pick one out? And the most important question: what should I name my new bike? 🙂