A little over a year after buying my first bike to ride in NYC, I took the plunge and did a serious upgrade. The old bike had issues even before the Memorial Day accident (I’d actually been on my way to the shop when the accident happened). Over the past week, even after some serious servicing, the bike was just not gearing right. There were issues moving between some of the gears on the back sprocket and downshifting on the front sprocket simply wasn’t working at all, which made hills more difficult that they needed to be.

After talking to the staff at Gotham Bikes, I chose a Specialized Sirrus and took delivery of it Friday night. I knew when I took the test drive that it was going to change my riding for the better. I proved that point on Saturday morning as I made the inaugural ride. I headed for Central Park and put the bike through it’s paces. I noticed immediately that my speed improved effortlessly. Instead of a comfortable flat road cursing speed of 10-12mph, I was up to 14-16mph. In some parts of the Park where it’s flat and hazard free I even hit 19.5mph (and that’s not downhill, that’s my peddle power). On the old bike, on this same stretch, I’d only hit 15-16mph.

The gearing, as you would expect of a brand new bike, is great. No issues getting into the low gears and that made hills go so much better.

I am getting used to some new things. The gears and brakes are in different positions and the gear controls are configured differently so that’s an adjustment. This bike is also properly fitted for me so I’m adjusting to a new position when I ride. It is pretty comfortable, but it is different and it’s making carrying the hockey sticks across my back a bit more difficult. I’m sure I will work this problem out in short order.

I did 32.18 miles in 2h30m yesterday, which is my fastest 30 miles to date. I averaged 12.8mph, which is pretty good when you consider that it includes slower going on hills as well as in-city traffic to get to and from the park.

One note on the ride for yesterday, I rode through Times Square for the first time. Since it was early in the morning, not even 8:30 at that point, I decided to give it a go. It was surreal. I’m used to going so slow as a pedestrian through that area since the crowds are never good. Going through on a bike was much faster and the perspective was much different than while on foot. I doubt I’ll do this often since I wouldn’t want to do it with a lot of vehicles and pedestrians about, but this one pass through was kinda fun.

Anyway, training for the Braking the Cycle ride continues and I have renewed confidence that the ride will go well since this new bike seems so excellent. As always, donations to the cause are most welcome. I definitely need the help of my friends and blog readers to make the fund raising goal. You can donate online by clicking here.