Posts Tagged ‘Trek Madone’

The bike Laura Sievert ended up with is a WSD Trek Madone 3.1.

I’ve got some pretty exciting news: I bought a new bike this week!

I started cycling with the Quincy Bicycle Club back in March and have quickly become addicted to the sport. I’ve made so many friends and learned so much about cycling this summer. It’s just been wonderful. It occurs to me, though, that I got lucky with my first bike purchase. A friend had one for sale, and it just happened to be a good fit for me. At the time though, I didn’t know enough about road bikes to make an educated purchase. It can be pretty intimidating to shop for a bicycle, and being an informed buyer and getting a bike that fits your needs will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the sport. So, today I thought I’d write a quick guide to buying a bike that will help you get your Adventure Foot out the door to experience cycling.


Bikes are like shoes: you’ve got to get the correct fit, or you’re going to be pretty unhappy and sore. There are a lot of elements to finding out the correct size bicycle for your needs, but the main one is frame size. Everyone has different leg/torso/arm measurements, and a knowledgeable bike shop can help you find exactly the right bike for your size. I’m about 5 foot, 5 inches tall, and my fit is a 52 cm bike. My husband is 5 foot, 10 inches, but because he has a longer torso and shorter legs proportionate to me, he only rides a bike that is 2 cm taller than mine. Don’t just depend on a height chart to fit your bike, get measured and find out exactly what size you need.


There are many styles of bike on the market today. Road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, race bikes … the list goes on and on. It’s important to determine your goals as a cyclist before you go shopping. For example, I like to bike lots of miles at a medium/fast pace. I’m not a racer trying to go as fast as possible, but I’m also not a “touring” type of rider who wants to sit up straight and keep a slow, easy pace. For me, a Sport Road Bike was the perfect answer. For some riders, the more comfortable upright position and wider tires of a Hybrid Road Bike might be the right style. Some riders are racers, and there are very aggressive bike styles made for speed and agility available, too. Still others are all about getting off road on uneven terrain, and mountain bikes with rugged tires and frames are more appropriate. The point is, knowing what kind of rider you hope to be will help a bike shop determine what style you need to select.


There are four main materials that modern road bike frames can be made of: steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber. Each has advantages and disadvantages in terms of stiffness, weight, durability and price. Steel offers the advantages of being relatively cheep, durable, but is generally a heavier bike. Aluminum bikes are also relatively cost effective and weigh less than steel frames. Aluminum frames can have more of road noise though, so you’ll often see carbon fiber forks on aluminum frames to reduce vibration. Titanium frames are durable, fairly lightweight, but also more expensive. I rode a titanium Litespeed Vortex for my Metric Century, and I was impressed with the relatively low road noise and the responsiveness of the frame to stresses like big hill climbs. Carbon Fiber bikes are the most popular type of bikes for professional riders and serious amateurs alike, and this was the type I selected to purchase. Carbon fiber is very lightweight. In fact, some of the best carbon bikes are under 15 pounds total weight- wheels and all! The frames are stiff and offer a quiet ride. The disadvantages to carbon frames are that they are fairly expensive and that they are somewhat less durable than the other types of frames.

Shifters, Deraillleurs and Cranks, Oh My!

You could definitely write an entire book on selecting components to a bike, but luckily for most recreational riders, you’ve only got a few decisions to make. The most common brands of shifters and derailleurs — derailleurs are the part of the bike drive train that moves your chain from one gear to another — on the market for road bikes are Shimano and Campagnolo. Once you’ve selected your bike brand and frame material, you’ll probably only need to pick a package “level” of components. It’s not as intimidating as it seems. For example, for Shimano packages, there are five main levels: Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace. Just think of those as entry-level, enthusiast-level, serious-level, race-level and pro-level. My new bike has the “serious-level” 105 package. I’m really happy with this combination of performance and affordability. There are a few options on types of cranks too, and a good bike shop can explain the differences in detail. A quick overview is that there are usually single, double or triple cranks, and the number of cranks and their size determines how many total gears are available on your bike. I got a double-compact crank, which was one of only two options on the bike I selected. I chose this because it was enough gears that I felt like I’d be comfortable on most hills, and it is also lightweight compared to a triple-crank bike.

Bike Shop

Which brings me to my last point: Go to a bike shop! It’s just my two cents, but if you really want a great bike that will serve you well for many years, don’t head out to Walmart. I highly recommend Madison-Davis Bicycle Shop at 912 South 8th Street in Quincy. Greg, Carl and Ryan will walk you through each step of selecting the perfect bike for you. They’re an authorized Trek retailer and can service Trek or most other makes of bikes. Trek bikes are made in Wisconsin and buying a quality American made bike from a local small business is great for everyone. Madison-Davis also has all the accessories you might need for your bike — pedals, shoes, flat tire repair kits, helmets, mirrors, computers, kids bikes, tool kits, jerseys and even little bicycle bells. It’s a particularly good time to shop right now because — just like a car dealer — bike shops will be clearing out their 2011 model bikes and getting 2012 models in. It’s a great time to get a good deal.

I hope this quick guide gives you a starting point for shopping for a bicycle of your own. I am extremely happy with the bike I purchased — a 2011 Women’s Specific Design Trek Madone 3.1. It’s a carbon fiber bike with the right combination of components for the way I ride. If you’re interested, you can read all the specifics on my new bike by clicking here. Happy cycling!

Original post August, 30 2011

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August 17, 2011 – I’d been nervous about the ride all week. One hundred kilometers — equal to 62.2 miles — is known in the cycling world as a Metric Century, and it would be my longest single ride ever. The route was designed for the “Friends of the Trail Fun’d Ride”, which is this Saturday, Aug. 20, but I had a prior commitment, so a few weeks ago I asked fellow Quincy Bicycle Club Member Jim Cate if he would pre-ride the route with me. He accepted the invitation, so at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 14, we left Bob Mays Park with the goal of a safe and successful 100-kilometer ride.

Jim Cate is something of a biking legend in Quincy. He will be 73 years old in a couple of weeks, and he cycles with enthusiasm and endurance that riders decades his junior can rarely emulate. He and his wife Phyllis — a great cyclist herself — can be seen around Quincy each Thursday night riding their tandem bike along with the Quincy Bicycle Club Pedal Pushers group.

For me, Jim has become a coach and a mentor. When we ride, he’ll share little tips: Shift smoothly and think ahead. Use your “spinning gears” on big climbs rather than muscling it out in a tough one so that you can conserve energy. Keep your feet even and your head down on downhill sections to reduce wind resistance. Don’t look at the wheel of the rider in front of you when you’re drafting — you’ll be able to hit the break instinctively when they break if you watch their back instead.

He coaches quietly and gently, but you can tell that he speaks with the authority that comes with years of experience. When he is trying to teach you something, you should definitely listen up.

We left the park Sunday morning and headed up Koch’s Lane. With the entirety of 63-plus miles sitting out in front of me, I briefly had a moment of doubt. But then I thought of something Ultra Marathon Runner and friend Jared Busen said to me recently, “It’s about not quitting … it’s about continual forward progress.” So I regained my focus and didn’t think about 63 miles. Instead I thought, “All I’ve got to do is the bit of road right in front of me and keep making forward progress. The miles will do themselves.”

The morning was gorgeous, and it really wasn’t hard to ignore the miles in the beginning. Jim and I were dashing along at a pace of around 15 miles per hour, and we’d eaten up the 17 miles of pavement between Quincy and Payson in no time at all. We stopped at the Fast Stop gas station there to check the map and have a quick granola bar, and then we were off to tackle the next 25-mile section.

Jim Cate on the 100-kilometer, Metric Century route.

I had already ridden part of this section before. One of the favorite routes of the Quincy Bike Club is Quincy to ride to Mike’s Place Restaurant in Liberty for breakfast, so the road was familiar. There’s a downhill on Highway 96, on which I reached my highest speed ever — 36 mph — and immediately following that is the first tough climb of the 100-kilometer route. It wasn’t too bad though, and once we got to the top, we went right back to chatting and knocking out miles. I had a nice time telling Jim about every bird we saw on the route, and Jim told me a bit more about the two bikes we were riding — the Trek Madone he was on and the Litespeed Vortex I had borrowed from him for this trip.

Much to my surprise, when we arrived at Mike’s Place in Liberty, a big group of other Quincy Bicycle Club riders were already there. It seems pretty peculiar to see twenty high-end bikes sitting outside a little diner in rural Illinois and to walk in and see their spandex-clad riders munching short-stacks of pancakes, but that’s the club for you. The riders greeted us as we walked in, and Jim explained that I was working on my first Metric Century.  They all offered their encouragement, and I felt really good about my chances of finishing my ride. As we were leaving, one of the club riders asked Jim where the rest of our route went, and I should have known by the solemn nod the rider gave me that the route was going to get a lot tougher.

The midmorning saw a change in the weather, and the wind picked up to 10 or 15 mph from the North Northeast. The next set of directions had us doing three 5-mile sections into the stiff headwind. Wind is the enemy of cycling; it just makes everything difficult. We took turns drafting off each other, but the rolling hills were starting to make my quads burn. We hit a “false flat,” which is where a road looks flat but is actually a low-grade climb, and I had to just put my head down and labor through. I’d say this was the first time I hit a “wall” on the ride. It was just a slog. The wind saw our average speed drop into the 13.6 mph range, but when we turned the corner out of the wind to Highway 104 near Quincy Regional Airport, my spirits lifted and I could practically taste my first Metric completed.

I hadn’t once checked our mileage on the ride for fear that it would just discourage me, but Jim shouted out that we were only 15 miles from the car and I was so happy I could have got off the bike to do a little dance! But then …

Ellington Road. Only 10 miles standing between me and victory, and Ellington Road decides to go into roller-coaster mode. Twelve big climbs in 10 little miles awaited my 53-mile-worn-bones. This Metric had to be earned the hard way.

The hills were painful and slow. I looked at Jim and said, “Well I guess we’re too close to call it quits now!” and tried my best to smile. Jim actually didn’t look all that tired, and he passed me on each climb and — thanks to my heavier body weight — I passed him on each decent. He said, “I usually don’t push people, but I want you to get this. Let’s attack the end of this!”

The bike’s onboard computer shows a total of 63.8 miles, approximately 102.67 kilometers, for the whole ride.

I don’t know if what I did could be considered a proper hill attack, but we got through them, and when I spotted the familiar corner of 36th and Koch’s Lane, I was so excited that nothing ached at all. We cruised up Koch’s, turned left on 18thand there we were — right back at the car we’d left hours before. I actually took a victory lap around the parking lot. I jumped off and hugged Jim and offered my sincerest thanks for being my coach. He gave me a certificate commemorating my first Metric Century. It was such a proud and joyous moment that I’m grinning while sitting here writing about it.  Our official ride time was 4 hours, 49 minutes for a total of 63.8 miles, approximately 102.67 kilometers, at an average of 12.9 mph. I learned a lot about cycling and a lot about myself over that distance. The ride was simply extraordinary.

When I started cycling this spring, I didn’t know if I’d enjoy it or stick with it. Since then, I’ve met such wonderful, passionate people in the Quincy Bicycle Club, that I can’t imagine my life without it. Jim Cate and his wife are both great inspirations for my riding, and each of the members of the club have offered their knowledge, support and encouragement as well. If you’re looking for a way to get active and meet a great group of people, my highest recommendation is to try the Quincy Bicycle Club. All ages and abilities are welcome, and I promise you, you will be delighted you found such a great way to “Get Out.”

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