Going Bike Shopping in Your Home (and Drinking the Cool-Aid)

11:46 AM

I am a sucker for design shows – you know the kind, where they take an ordinary room and through the magic of creativity and an unlimited budget they wind up with an extraordinary room in the space of a neat, half-hour show.  I particularly love those moments where they try to pretend that the viewers at home can easily emulate the process by simply going shopping in their own homes.  That dusty picture frame taking up space in your garage can be repurposed into a beautiful mirror in your entryway, and all that old dresser needs to transform into a wet bar is a coat of paint, strips of balsa wood, and a glue gun!

What does this have to do with biking?  I’m getting there…

I love my 26er, which I bought for the specific purpose of improving my handling skills.  Done.  And, it turns out that I like mountain biking quite a bit – nice bonus!  But I am surrounded by 29ers here in Minnesota.  And while I don’t agree with the editors of Velo News magazine (who opined in their recent “Power” issue that the 26er is dead, and the market will be divided between 27.5 and 29 inch wheels in the future), I have had moments of weakness this summer where I’ve wondered if I made the right choice in my bike.  It’s difficult when you see those wagon wheels wherever you go…

…but then I remembered that I am living with a 26er convert.  Though his first bike was a 29er, he’s been riding and loving his e-bay special 26er all summer long while his 29er languishes in the basement – looking lonely and craving a ride.

The Jamis Dragon 29 - the brown is prettier in real life
So for the rest of the summer I am jumping on the bandwagon without spending a dime and riding the 29er – a sweet steel Jamis Dragon.  It is time to thoroughly check out what everyone is raving about (my only previous experience is one ride from earlier this spring).  Though I do feel like I’m cheating on my 26er a bit, I am excited to see how the bigger wheels affects my handling, climbing, and descending skills.  Also, one of my final mountain bike races for the season (the Chequamegon Short & Fat) is really a non-technical roadie race, and riding a 29er I’m comfortable with might give me a bit of an advantage. 

So it turns out you can shop from your own home…if you’ve gone shopping before, of course…

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