Saturday, June 2, 2012

My "Alpine Designs" bicycle takes flight.

I got the Alpine Designs bicycle in rideable form. This project had a lot of questions. Buying a frame sight-unseen from eBay is a gamble. You don't know how it will feel until you ride it. Swapping out the fork is a further gamble. Success is a bicycle that handles properly, is comfortable, and is fun to ride. Success is uncertain until you can ride the bicycle - pictures and words cannot provide all the answers.

Success! The bicycle is light and responsive. It has the predictable handling that I love from an older mountain bike frame. It holds a straight line hands free and is easy to maneuver. That's all I ask.

I locked the doors to the shop, clipped on my helmet, and prepared myself for the first ride. The acceleration was fantastic. I'm used to a heavy bicycle, which is almost always loaded to some degree with something. This light unloaded bicycle really took off. It was fun to go fast, and the bicycle was begging for it. I attacked a few short steep hills. I was absolutely able to FLY uphill, barely slowing down. The thin tubing of the frame felt resilient. It would flex and give a little over rough pavement, small potholes, and trolley tracks. This is a desirable quality in most cases, and I imagined the bicycle as a flying carpet as I sweated at the controls.

You know in baseball when a guy swings two bats around before going up to the plate? Then he swings one bat - it feels light in comparison, and he can crush the ball? On my way home I was crushing it. It was like - really fun.

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