For the Geardo, namely, me, life is a constant struggle to evade the knowledge of my complete loserdom.  Retail therapy is my salvation.  With so much cool shit surrounding me in my little adobe abode in the mountains of northern New Mexico, I just don’t have time to get depressed (except when my credit card bills arrive.)  I look around and see all kinds of awesome gear, from multiple backpacks for multiple sports and uses, to high-end cameras, cute computers and all kinds of sundry little widgets to while away my time and help me forget what a lonely hermit I’ve become.

Recently, a friend took a job at the town’s premier bicycle shop.  I’ve always been an avid mountain biker, owning not less than 4 expensive Santa Cruz boutique bikes in my day, including the Blur LT I’m currently sporting on the trails.  This buddy and I would laugh at and make fun of the road bikers on the way to our favorite forest single-tracks.  But always in the back of my mind, I knew one day I’d be eating these words.  Well, that day has come.

My latest dam to stem the tide of my advancing age is a brand new, carbon-frame road bike, a Specialized Roubaix Expert, to be exact.  This thing weighs 17 pounds right off the rack.  In bright red and white, you’ll see me coming from miles away.  Equipped with the SRAM Rival component group, I can easily get away with imagining that I’m in the toughest mountain stage of the Tour de France, a Cinderella story, the old man from Santa Fe who is showing those boys what to do on a bike, capturing both the yellow and the polka-dot jerseys.









Actually, this bike is my second road bike in as many weeks.  I started out buying a LeMond Poprad, a cyclocross bike designed for rougher roads and smooth dirt trails.  I thought I could get away using this as my primary road bike, and it was so pretty with its carbon fork and front and back disc brakes.  I have to admit, I fell hard for those disc brakes.  But they’re mechanical as opposed to hydraulic brakes.  Take it from the Geardo, don’t bother with mechanical disc brakes, at least on your road bike.  I just couldn’t seem to get them tuned very well, and when I almost piled up into my friend going 35 mph, I decided I needed to get with the convention and get a proper road bike.

The other great advantage of my Roubaix over the Poprad is the carbon frame.  There is a HUGE difference in the ride between a carbon and steel frame, and it’s not just about the weight.  Carbon frames tend to absorb all those little vibrations a bike picks up from the surface of the road and the various seams between different sections of pavement.  The second I got on my friend’s older Roubaix, I knew I had made a mistake buying a steel frame bike.  Don’t get me wrong, plenty of folks love steel frames.  They are quite stiff and much more durable.  But the smooth ride of the black more than outweighs the advantage of the stiffness, and since I’m just a little man, I can get away with a more flexible frame for the much more damp ride it provides.

But if you are looking for a one-bike-that-does-it-all, I can recommend the Poprad.  Were I as rich as my spending habits suggest, I would have kept it for my winter bike and left myself surrounded by even more awesome gear than I have right now.