Part 1: Introduction
Over the last few years, I’ve been growing increasingly uncomfortable with my bike. It began on longer rides: my back would start to hurt after 60 miles and my neck would ache after 4 hours. Then it gradually got worse. 50 miles became difficult and now I’m happy that my club rides are a fast 35 miles. Probably doesn’t hurt (no pun intended) that I really don’t have time to ride anymore.
I’ve always known that I’ve been riding a bike much too small for me. I’m 6 feet tall and ride the equivalent of a 53 cm “crit bike.” Silly considering I’ve never been much of a crit racer. The point though, is that over the years I’ve realized that the kid in college who could put himself on any bike and perform reasonably well is not the same person when you add 15 years. But the fact alone that I was on the wrong bike didn’t make me get a custom. After all, getting sized appropriately would have done the trick.
Perhaps it’s the aging process and that I ride 10% the miles I used to. An average week has me at 30 miles, I take 4-6 months off every year, and a good week has me around 60 miles. Pretty sad. But all this combined means I’m more timid. I don’t attack corners the way I used to. And of course, I’m just not physically comfortable on the bike anymore.
I’m not a fool. After all, a bicycle is a bicycle. With all the brands out there and all the materials, you’d think you could find a bike that meets your every need. This is probably true. I don’t think a custom bike is going to miraculously return me to my glory days. Nor do I think it will give me a psychological boost that will impact all other areas of my riding. I did however think that in addition to getting the right size of a bike, the bike could be designed to alleviate a couple of the problems through good design.
Through the next few pages, I’ll be describing in detail the issues I faced, and the process I went through in fixing them. This includes finding a builder, designing the frame, and the most exciting part, watching it get built, painted and delivered. I hope you find these pages interesting and informative. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
That said, I should note that I found a great resource for myself with the people over at http://www.roadbikereview.com. There are many people over there who have also been through this experience, not only with the builder I chose, but pretty much anyone with a decent reputation in any frame material. If I don’t address your questions through this site, head over there and ask away.