It was hell at first. I picked Serenity up March 27th of last year and took her up to Winton Woods to ride it around the lake. It's 1.75 miles to make one lap around. That first day it took me more than an hour. I stopped and sat on several benches a bunch of times.
I fell on my bum a bunch of times, was in serious pain, and had bruises all over me for weeks afterwards. I'd promised all my friends I was going to start out slow and easy and limit myself to five miles on that first day. Well my first lap was SO bad, and I forgot to turn on my GPS tracking feature I didn't even count it. So I set about my second lap and made better time on that one. Only stopped twice on my second lap. Third lap I stopped once, and by my fourth lap, I made it around without stopping at all. Yay me!!!
From that point on I just kept getting better, riding further, and improving my pace. My goal early on was to ride 500 miles before November 1st rolled around. Early July came and I was well on my way to blowing past 500 miles so I doubled my goal. By November I'd made it to 1000 miles and was up to 12 miles per hour average pace and was doing longer rides without stopping or falling on my bum.
My friend Laura, who was cheering on my on and a long time cyclist herself had been trying to get me to move to Tucson Arizona for the sun and single track trails there hatched a plan to get me down there for a visit. So I spent most December and January in Tucson getting really dirty. Really dirty, cut up and bruised because all that sand there was something I so wasn't ready for and trying to keep up with Laura caused me to wreck several times. Serenity wasn't all that happy either, and on the third crash I thought I'd badly damaged her.
Thankfully, Serenity survived mostly unscathed, and she and I went on to more rides in the sun while still there. Monday I took her in to get her tuned up, checked over and ready for this year. After the wrecks in Arizona she was still unhappy, the wheels were rubbing and she was, well filthy. With March 27th right around the corner my one year new bike service plan was about to expire so I really needed to get her in to the shop.
Montgomery Cyclery is where I landed after some serious research. They were patient, amazingly helpful and NOT pushy. I went in knowing I wanted a new bike and after having looked at their website extensively I thought I knew what I wanted. They showed me what I was considering and answered all my questions. They also had a sale coming up and suggested I wait until the sale and save even more. Also helped me look at other bikes, even better bikes that would be in my price range during the sale. So while it was sort of an up sell, it was one in my favor. Another reason I chose them was the store itself. It has this calm, quiet, peaceful air to it that reminds me of a library. So that alone was a major selling point in their favor.
The staff there is great, and when I took Serenity in Rob looked at her and said "I can see your worries about not getting enough use out of her to justify the cost wasn't that much of an issue after all. Where have you been riding, because that's a lot of dirt." So they took her in and went over her with a fine tooth comb so to speak. When I went to pick her up Joe looked at me and said "You know your tires are showing a bunch of wear, do you commute to work on your bike?" I laughed and said no, that's just pleasure riding. He looked confused and said "But this is less than a year old, you just got it. That's a bunch of riding." I assured him it was just shy of 1200 miles, that I was going to shoot for 1500 miles this year. "You might need new tires before then" he joked.
So Serenity is clean, and back in proper shape, and tomorrow and Friday promise to be ideal for riding and I'm going to be out in the sun and warm weather loving my bike and reveling in the feeling of peace, of Serenity I have with the wind in my hair and the hum of the tires beneath me.