Saturday, December 12, 2009

Introducing Gia

My new bike is here!

"What?! What new bike?" you may be asking yourself. Not to mention, "What happened to Herbie*?"

*Herbie is my old bike. I named her after Herbie, the Love Bug. But she's a girl Herbie, not a boy Herbie.

I haven't mentioned it much on the blog, because I didn't want to jinx it. It all started back in Oct. when I woke up one day to a message on Facebook from one of my online friends, Will, saying (paraphrase):

Do you want a Gios Compact Pro racing bike? I've got the parts for one in my basement. I'd rather see them being used than sitting here.
My reaction? I was in shock. Wouldn't you be? I was also a bit suspicious. Maybe I'm a cynic and I know I tend to over-think things. So my brain was going about 200 mph with all sorts of thoughts:

Why would someone who I only know online give me a bicycle? I also didn't know enough about bikes to know what exactly what I was being offered. Was it better than what I had? Would I have to spend money I didn't have to finish her off? Would she even fit me as I'm so short? What was the catch?!?!

So I took a day to think on it. And calm down. I also did some research and found that the frame I was being offered cost as much as Herbie ... and that was just the frame! So that got rid of one of my fears ... that I'd have to pay a lot of money getting spare parts for a bike that wasn't that much better than what I already had.

It also started getting me excited. I knew someday I'd outgrow Herbie, but I also knew that it would be a long time before I could afford a kickass bicycle that would help me place better in races. Now one was being dropped on my doorstep for only the cost of finishing her off and tricking her out. How could I resist? Particularly as I know that this is just the sort of thing I'd do as I hate having to sell things and I hate having them go to waste because I hate to sell them. (Which is why my once top-of-the-line Sony HD video camera is in Massachusetts being used to make movies instead of on eBay where it could be making me some money.)

I cautiously penned my acceptance of this amazing offer. But only if she would fit me...

To answer the fit question, I did a pseudo bikefit (Gia's measurements dialed into a bike fit frame) at Silicon Valley Cycling Center and it turns out that Gia is a decently small bike though slightly bigger than Herbie. Since Herbie sometimes feels a bit cramped, we decided it could work, especially if we swapped out Herbie's too small stem (90mm) for a standard 100mm stem and used the smaller one on Gia.

It also turned out that Gia came with pretty much all her parts. I did have to get a something-or-other bolt and pedals and a handlebar. Plus that "extra" stuff that every bike needs -- a wedge bag to hold a spare tire, bottle cages, a blinky light, etc. But not a seat or gears or tires or rims. This is good because I only had some Christmas money to spend on extras and had not budgeted for a new bike at this time.

In the end, I spent the money to swap out the crank. It's very hilly around here and the 54/43 she came with was just a bit too high-geared for me. So now my retro Italian racing bike has a modern SRAM Rival crank as well as a Specialized stem. Which amuses me.

Naturally, I managed to spend almost all of my budget, especially with the new crank, but I have enough left over to reimburse Will for the shipping and maybe even donate a token amount to the charity of his choice. But this makes Gia a Christmas gift from my mom as well as from Will and his wife since mom's Christmas $$$ is what allowed me to finish Gia off and make her a useable bike.

Speaking of Gia, why that name? I thought of it first because of Gios. Gios - Gia, see what I mean? But  then I decided that was kind of pedestrian so I  thought some more and came up with Lucia. Then I saw her and decided she had too much personality to be a Lucia. I know two young ladies named Gianna and she reminds me of them. So I went back to Gia, short for Gianna. It fits her.

Gia has a selle Italia Novus saddle. From what I've read online, this saddle sometimes takes a while to break in. I'm hoping my sit bones will like it, because otherwise I'll be sorry I gave away my other saddle - the one-size-too-big-for-me Specialized Lithia. Though I suppose I could always propose a trade-back of some sort assuming the Lithia is still in decent shape.

Her shifter/derailers are Campagnolo Chorus 10 speed. The front brake is also a Campy but an Athena. The shifters are interesting. They have the lever that fits into the brake handle like Shimano does but it only goes in one direction. To go in the other direction, there is a thumb lever. I like it! I only have to push either lever a tiny bit and she shifts. I don't have to smash in the brake and shifter lever at the same time and pray.

The wheels/rims are Mavic Open Pro (vs. the lower-end Mavic CPx22s that Herbie has) and the tires are Continental racing tires. The interesting thing about them is that they are "foldable". They were shipped flat. I didn't know tires could do that! They are also narrower than the tires on Herbie because they are racing tires. The front wheel has a Chris King hub. It's red and so is the rim. Something about red makes it seem like it must be fast so I like it.

I went with Look pedals since my newer bike shoes take them or Speedplay. I had tried Speedplay at IMAZ and not liked them. So far I like the Look ones. If I like them enough, I may put some on Herbie and keep my older  SPD shoes for spin class only. Not having to have the right shoes for the right bike will simplify things, though I'll miss having a backup pair of shoes hidden in my car.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about how she rides. It's been raining here since Thursday! There was a brief break in the weather today when I went to pick her up, but it was raining again by the time I got home. Then it got dark.

So I've only rode her on the trainer working on bike fit and trying out the gears and new pedal/clip-in system.

I'm hoping there will be another break in the weather tomorrow and I can take her out on Alameda Creek Trail for a quick run through. It's a good trail for test driving a bike. I learned to shift Herbie and not be so wobbly on that trail around this time last year.

Speaking of Herbie, some of you may be wondering what will happen to her. I haven't decided. I think she's going to spend the winter on the trainer though. I might actually do some trainer workouts if I had a bike already hooked up and ready to go. That's the theory anyway.

P.S. I tried to take more pictures but my camera has decided not to focus any more and my card reader has decided not to read cards. I did the best I could with my iPhone, but it has no flash.
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