My Schwinn sports cycle regrettably has to move into a new home. It served me well, as I cycled more than 5000+ kms on it, including expeditions to Rajasthan and to Kerala .I did have apprehensions as I set off for the first expedition to Rajasthan, more to do with my own uncertainly of cycling three consecutive days of approx 100 kms each .I managed the rides reasonably well and the Schwinn performed without a glitch, two punctures notwithstanding.
So too the Kerala adventure, although the cycle played up quite a bit this time .Had trouble with the gears for most of the trip and noisy brakes; at times I hoped desperately that the cycle would hold out till we finished .Finish we did and in the final analysis the Schwinn did fairly well .The trouble enroute was more due to inadequate maintenance skills to correct what would have been relatively minor adjustments. In fact since I returned from Kerala and after servicing, the cycle has been performing rather well. As well as I have ever know it too!!
The urge to upgrade had been on my mind for some time, with more than gentle nudges by Vijay .He kept reminding me that it was time to get a cycle that was commensurate with my status!!!!! Urgh ….???!! I never looked at it that way but felt that I had earned the right for a higher calibre cycle ,after three years or so of consistent and ardent cycling , often all by myself.
Along with Vijay and Gagan we worked out the specs for the cycle that would best suit my needs. Gagan was keen that I go in for a mountain cycle and fit it with hybrid tyres .He was also looking at good deals on the internet for cycles with the right frame and components at reasonable prices .He did suggest a few options that would have meant importing the cycles on my own .Others were of the view that I should stick to a cycle that was sold and serviced at a convenient location. What was clear to me was that the cycle should be a hybrid, preferably without disk brakes, with lockable front suspension and with reasonably good components.
I searched around a lot at the popular sports shops but couldn’t find a cycle of my choice and had to turn to the internet before I zeroed in on a Trek 7500 .Firefox, the India distributor for Trek doesn’t stock and sell the 7500, however on a special request and after a bit of persuasion, they agreed to imported it for me .And so it came to pass that I own a cycle specially imported for me, now isn’t that special and haven’t I come a long way on the road to cycling !!!
In contrast the purchase of the Schwinn was quite blind! I had decided to get into cycling as a form of exercise and a hobby, without any external prodding .I can’t recollect what was the stimulus for this decision. Perhaps it was a stray article I may have read in a magazine or newspaper. A visit to our Chandigarh office lead to a breezy visit to the neighbouring Firefox showroom where I saw a range of sports cycles and got an idea of the prices .It helped in fixing a price range that I thought I would be comfortable with .Thereafter I went to the Firefox and the Track &Trail showrooms in Lajpat Nagar along with Ashish ( who was equally unfamiliar with sports cycle requirements–talk about the blind leading the blind !) .I selected the Schwinn Searcher because it fitted my price range , looked reasonably good and I felt comfortable on it .I didn’t know at that time that it was a hybrid cycle nor did I have any idea what to look for or compare.
So, wow, the Trek 7500 had much more science behind its purchase. The first feel of it is good and comfortable .I get the feeling that I will notice the difference on longer, harder rides. There are minor adjustments that need to be made and for which I’ll take the bike to the showroom after a week or two .For now I am all set for a new beginning in the cycling endeavour .I plan to put in far more rigorous and structured schedules with clear goals for speed and endurance . The GK Bikers are talking of another ride in Rajasthan, this time covering 500 kms in 24 hours (some of us can take more time — thank heavens) and there is the lure of the Brevet 300 (everyone else has completed the 200 and some the 400, so I have just to gear myself up for the 300 when the team decides on it!
The GK Bikers, off course, are way ahead of me in terms of cycling speed and endurance and I won’t ever catch up with them. The Sunday morning rides are getting to be races and the thirst for extreme cycling adventure is growing by the day. Finding a fit here is getting bothersome .But what the heck , I ride because I like too or want too and have my own goals and challenges to meet .Life after all carries on the way we want it to .
I didn’t think I would sell the Schwinn , at least not immediately .However there being no proper place for it in Sheikh Sarai ,pushed me to find a new owner for it .I passed the word around at the office and very soon Sandeep offered to take it .So regrettably my Schwinn , the cycle that served me so well and build my appetite for this sport , has to move to a new home.