This week I got a new road bike (pictured above)! I had been considering a new entry-level road bike, but soon learned that the price for a new road bike can quickly become quite high. Especially as KT and I are only in Germany for a limited period and are not sure how easy it will be for us to transport a bike back to Canada this summer, economy was required. I decided in the end to buy a second-hand road bike. I was, I think, quite fortunate to find a used 2008 Cannondale CAAD 5 (58cm aluminium frame) with a compact Shimano crank-set for sale on EBay in the local area, for a very reasonable price. I went and picked it up first thing on Wednesday morning about 5km outside the city. I’m always quite nervous about buying items second-hand like this, as it’s often difficult to be certain of the product at a quick glance. But the owner seemed very reputable and gave me a reasonable history of the bike, which seemed in excellent condition based on a short ride and examination.
My next step was to take the bike to the fantastic bike shop located in a small town about 7km outside of where we live, which I mentioned briefly in a previous post, for a tune-up and to get some needed equipment (such as proper cycling shoes and bolts). The shop in question is called John’s Radhaus, to which Rad is equally appropriate in both the German and English senses. John and his wife sell Cannondale and Cervélo bikes (among other brands), and offer a lot of experience as bike riders, purveyors, and mechanics. Just as important, perhaps, is that they are very nice people. On a cultural level, John hails from Pennsylvania and his wife from Germany, so one gets a fully bilingual experience in their shop.
In fact, they are such nice people, that I genuinely felt badly for not being able to purchase a new bike from them (which I would have done if we were staying longer). I was, however, able to give them some business. John gave my bike a good tune-up (tightened the cassette, aligned the brakes properly, etc.), helped me with the equipment I needed, and gave some good advice. I’m looking forward to heading out on some rides with them once the season gets going. I would recommend to anyone in the Heidelberg area seriously interested in cycling to get in touch with them, as you’ll be pleased with what they deliver and how they deliver it.
I went out to get the bike tuned up on Friday morning, my day off from training, and John had it ready for me on Saturday morning, just in time for my planned afternoon ride. My shoes won’t be in until later next week (the curse of large feet once again required a special order), so he put on some toe-clips until then. It was rainy and windy most of the afternoon, but I was nonetheless anxious to get out and try the new bike. It was so much fun, I almost didn’t notice the rain and wind. The difference in feel, form, and efficiency compared to riding on my old bike is incredible. Even with taking it cautiously due to the wet roads, I shaved off another 15 seconds per kilometre over my 60-min. ride. And the feeling of speeding along a flat stretch with the wind at your back is something exquisite! I’ve been sticking to flats thus far, but I can always see the mountains in the distance, where I plan to head before long.