Adventures of a Novice Biker

Years ago, a friend called me while she was walking down the Pearl St. Mall, and exclaimed, “Jordan, you have to move to Boulder; there are bearded men everywhere!” That was enough to get me thinking and in the Fall of 2009 I moved to Boulder from NYC, sight unseen. I did not move because I wanted to become an ultra-marathoner or an expert skier, (or even to find those bearded men), but because I was growing tired of the concrete jungle that was my NYC home, and I needed to breathe clean air and quite literally “stop and smell the roses”.

I expected many things when I moved to this town: healthy living, mountain vistas, good beer, and great food. But one thing that surprised me (even though it shouldn’t have), was the intense bike culture. And by intense, I mean people own more than one or two bikes. To be fair, I knew very little about bikes when I moved to Colorado. I grew up on the coast in Southern California where cruising by the beach with a single speed was pretty much the norm and road cyclists were an elite group that were gazed at from afar. Needless to say, when I moved to Colorado I was confronted with a bike culture that I did not understand, but like anyone who moves here, wanted very much to be a part of; so I began my adventure.

Because I was completely intimidated by the task of finding a bike, I went with what I knew: aesthetics. And while I firmly believe that individuality can be expressed in many ways, including the type of gear you use, I do not recommend this approach for finding the right bike. Instead of asking a professional questions and testing bikes under the supervision of experts, I ignorantly went with a bike from Target that I thought was cute and relatively inexpensive. Now there is nothing wrong with Target, but why did I choose a big box store when I had a ton of local bike shops at my disposal? Because I was afraid; afraid that everyone would see the city girl behind my newly-found outdoor persona and judge me accordingly. But here is something I have learned since my shaky beginning as a biker; bike experts love biking and in turn want others to love biking too!

IMG_3999After I purchased my albeit adorable bike from Target, I began to make it my own with the addition of a front and rear basket, cup holder, and of course, a bell. I didn’t look into previously existing bike accessories because I wanted to be creative and original, so I ultimately wound up with a basket falling apart up front and a vintage wooden picnic basket on the rear. Although I looked great biking down the street, the weight of the initial bike and all of the accessories, resulted in an extremely heavy bike. After a few years of always trailing behind my friends on bike rides and being out of breath on even the smallest of hills, (and never even wanting to ride), I finally began to think that maybe I wasn’t a bad biker, but that maybe my bike was the problem.

NEWBURY_SIDE_1S_2048x2048That is when I found Pure City Cycles, out of Burbank, CA. When I browsed their website I thought I had gone to bike heaven. It was almost as if I placed a custom order and it popped up on their site. Pure City Cycles has the urban cyclist in mind when designing their bikes, guaranteeing a bike that is both city-worthy and very functional. I placed my order for the 8-speed Newbury and not-so-patiently waited for it to arrive. After it arrived, I had it built, then went for my first ride. I was in complete disbelief at how light it was. I could ride twice as long with half of the effort; I could even ride with my one year old and Burley in tow without a problem. The freedom this bike has given me is pretty incredible. While I know that this bike may not be as sophisticated as some Boulder cyclists want, it is the perfect bike for a beginner who wants style, speed, ease, and value. Now, I eagerly await my next ride on the Newbury and have retired my old clunker (that only comes out for guest use).

While I am by no means and intense biker, my fumbling has taught me a lot about value, quality, and ultimately the importance of vulnerability when entering a new sport. Boulder can be an intimidating place for beginners; so many elite athletes live in this somewhat small town. So, to all of you experts; be kind, and to all of you novice bikers; be brave! My next stop? Mountain biking.

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