Reading a lot of these posts there are a lot of people who are exactly where I was a little over six months ago.
A little over 8 months ago, I finally had enough of the itch and decided to scratch it. I hadn't ridden a bike of my own for at least 10 years. I had a friend that was a downhill kinda guy. Brought in the bike porn to work, showed us his helmet cam videos, and once I made the decision I was a buyer, took me to Fat Tire Farm. I only mention them by name because no where else in town that I know you can rent high end mountain bikes. I rented because the biggest resounding thing I heard was ride before you buy.I rented a Giant Reign X0 for the day. We got a tip from a guy in the store about a trail off highway 30. A group of us all, mostly rookies to riding as an adult, took to the streets and rode around downtown Portland. After two hours we had realized two things, we were all out of shape except the guy that dragged us out, and two, riding a downhill bike around town is a big workout without a lot of fun. We drove out to the earlier recommended trail, and that was it, I was definitely hooked. We rode through some trails I would now being more informed were more xc and single track, but then really didn't know what I was on just I was having a good time, and didn't care otherwise.
Quickly I realized that the best option for me to get on a bike regularly and ride, was actually going to be commuting instead of hitting trails like I had seen. None of my friends were really as into the idea as I was at the time, and my co-worker was the only one that would really be a regular guy I could count on to go out of town and ride trails with. But even he said he just didn't have time to ride anymore.So I started looking at bikes I could ride a 10 mile commute and feel happy with. I was looking to spend 1000 bucks for everything, bike, bag, lights, gloves, and a lock. I will be honest, I wanted cable disc brakes, mtb geometry, with rigid suspension. I know alot of people will slam me for buying the flashy brake bike...but for some reason being 6'4" 250lbs at the time, I felt more comfortable with the discs. I really wanted a suspension fork at first, but just couldn't find a bike with parts on it I felt were even average. Rigid allowed for a better overall bike instead of a cheap bike with a cheap suspension fork. I didn't know brands like I do now, and ended up with a Specialized Globe Sport disc. Since buying my bike I have found multiple other manufacturers that have bikes that would have been doable on my budget but didn't pop out to me until I knew where to look. Even knowing what people say about mech. disc brakes I would probably still make them a priority because they did work well for me once I got past the break in and learned how to adjust them.
Since buying the bike I've spent an additional $500 on bike parts including $400 on a set of wheels I would definitely change how that purchase went. I've dropped it to a 1x9 gear setup and love the simplicity but still having the options. I've also downsized the tires from the more mixed tread pattern to a Schwalbe Marathon Tire at 28mm I noticed a large decrease in effort and increase in my average speed over long distances.
I ride about 4 times a week now, in the beginning the weather held me back and was, at most able to ride twice a week. I also try to ride something different at least once a week with friends.Since I bought my bike a few friends have also brought out bikes, or bought new ones of their own. If you're from Portland, we've ridden around Mt. Tabor, Forest Park, and the infamous "zoo bomb" routes I found online. Nothing really serious like 100's of miles or anything, just riding around being dorks on bikes.
I have to say spending 1500 bucks in six months on biking, but not driving a car of my own over six months... No insurance (190/month) no gas ( 50/month when I started 75/month now ) and no parking ( I work downtown 50/month. ) I was spending 290/month, or $1,740 over six. I don't see myself spending any more money to continue commuting other than a new set of brake pads, and probably a set of tubes in the next six months.
In the end, if you haven't started riding but have been thinking about it. Get out and do it. Who cares what you ride, just get out and ride. Between my friends we have the most random group of 2 29" commuters, an few old basement road bikes, and even a folding bike.
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