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Reply To: Do I really need a new bike?

John Bilsky, June 25, 2018 at 10:06 am

Hey Michaela,

Should you get a new bike for the ride? Egh… maybe but probably not. IF IF IF I were in your shoes:
A. they certainly wouldn’t fit
B. I’d take stock of everyone’s opinions and advice here
C. Decide wisely based on your situation.

For starters, a Mongoose with street slicks or road type tires would be my minimal requirement. Knobby tires WILL both slow you down and wear you out. I will be riding a custom camouflage painted mountain bike with street tires and think it’s excellent. (Say hello if you happen to spot me. Likely it’ll be the only camo mt. bike with a blue “trunk” on the rear rack.) The BIG advantage is if one has to leave the pavement quickly to avoid some danger, a mountain bike is much less likely to dump you on your keister.

A good saddle is IMO the next optin you should consider. If your butt hurts; you’re not doing it right. There are several great saddles out there designed specifically for women AND the great thing about buying a new saddle is that if & when you get a new bike, you can transfer the saddle. Be sure it’s properly installed in the right position for you.

With a mountain bike you won’t have as many different hand positions on your handlebars so you might want to think about adding some sort of “bar ends” just to give you additional flexibility for comfort.

Obviously you want your current bike to be as well tuned as possible. This year’s ride is going to be fairly flat so I wouldn’t fret too much about having it perfect. In the past I’ve met a wonderful Japanese young man doing a world tour. His rear wheel had THREE spokes broken or missing and needless to say was WAYYYYYY out of true. His brakes were marginal to say the least and he had the full touring package with panniers tied up with bungie cords and poorly tied cordage. Every working component need lubing; his chain was a mess. BUT he was completely happy and really.. isn’t that the goal? Of course I did my best to give his bike a little tuning and the language “barrier” was easily overcome with smiles and hand gestures.

Other possibilities are of course the Craig’s List option which is pretty good.

Personally I’d stay as debt free as possible regardless of all else. This is only a week long ride and any adversity will make for great “story” in the end. That “story” will be told for years and years and with each telling it will get better.

Do you need a new bike? Egh… I’ve seen a guy do RAGBRAI on a unicycle. Best of luck to ya.

JB

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