A New Trek (Bike) for a Trekker

Buying a new Trek bike might help a person “live long and prosper” 

Last weekend was spent camping and biking – it was one of the most enjoyable outings in recent memory.  After setting up the van (basically just parking it), all of the running around was done by bike.  It’s a great way to add a little extra exercise into the mix.  Since about sixty miles were put on the bike, about $18 worth of gas was not used!

Unfortunately, some mechanical troubles with the old Raleigh bike cut the trip a little short, making it necessary to re-evaluate the biking equipment needs.

Somehow several of the spokes in the rear wheel of the old Raleigh bike had snapped.  I don’t know exactly when or why this occurred but I remember the bike had picked up an increasingly nasty wobble in the back end.  With other issues on my mind (like losing the camcorder!), the spokes were never checked.  I just rode with the problem.  After returning to Cedar Rapids, I noticed the broken spokes and took the old bike to the shop.

The Schwinn Typhoon

Hall Bicycle, a local bike dealer in Cedar Rapids, provided five star service.  They have been around since 1898 and are a Cedar Rapids icon.  As I recall, in about 1976 or so they sold Mom and Dad the first new bikes I can remember for use by my sister and I  (Hers was a green Schwinn Hollywood – they girl’s version without the “nutcracker bar”…)  Pictured is a Schwinn Typhoon exactly like what our parents bought for me to use to commute to school.

Hall’s repaired the Raleigh bike for just $23.  They even adjusted and tweaked the shifters as well…  The bill should have easily been more but that’s how a business keeps you coming back.  They take good care of you. 

I asked the mechanic about the general condition of the bike, especially the drive train.  It was obvious that some areas were deficient due to age and mileage.  The chain was shot.  The rear sprocket was also worn and I had trouble shifting.  Though the rear wheel was repaired, I was cautioned that the remaining spokes would soon start popping due to the stress placed on them when the others had failed.  It was becoming evident that the 17 year old, faithful Raleigh bike needed to be retired.

After several days of research, I bit the bullet and bought a new “fitness” class bike – the Trek FX 7.4.  No, there is no connection to Star Trek…. At least not as far as I know.  The name is just a coincidence… But I’m not complaining!

It took hours of pouring over catalogs and web pages to find exactly what was wanted and needed:  a comfortable, lightweight bike with straight handlebars that could easily navigate city streets, rolling hills, and gently sloped trails.  Though more expensive versions of the FX exist, they were geared more for speed and street riding performance;  high priced bikes such as the 7.5, and 7.6 didn’t have three front gears ring desired for riding at granny and medium speeds.  It’s nice to find something that fits the need better and also costs less.

Hall Bicycle offered a great price – well below many of the places I saw on the Internet.  They customized it for me too.  To compensate for a larger rider I had the tires upgraded from 700×32 to a Kevlar 700×38.  I also replaced the seat (which had been a point of negative feedback on the net) with a “Cloud 9” softer, pillowy saddle.  The seat has an open portion under the rider’s… you know… to help prevent discomfort and injuries to male parts.  I’m going to install a 4 line cycle computer (speedometer, odometer, trip meter, clock / temperature gauge.  A cargo carrier was also installed.  It’s ready to go!

The bike went out for a couple of rides today.  It fits like a glove.  Doing some research and using a reputable dealer made a big difference.  The the Trek bike will provide a lot of fun and fitness in the coming days.

For those of you who camp regularly, I am curious if you take a bike with you.  Please comment or email.

Take care and thanks for visiting!

V.T.

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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