Until a few weeks ago I have been riding a Trek Sky mountain bike. We bought a matching pair for Sandy and I at our local bike shop in late 2016. They here served us well.
In 2017, we started taking our matched pair of bikes on all our road trips, looking for places to ride both in Florida and beyond.
Sandy has become comfortable riding hers and has ridden it farther than any bicycle that she has ever owned.
During the lockdown I started riding a regular three days a week, delivering books to the post office along the way.
I have ridden this bike more places than any other bicycle that I have ever owned. Including many off-road adventures throughout Florida and beyond.
It’s been the length of the Overseas Heritage Trail in the Florida Keys, through the Everglades on the Southern Glades Trail, and across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
We’ve been through the Appalachians, across the deserts of New Mexico and Texas, and along the bayous of Louisiana and Alabama. On both paved and unpaved trails throughout the country.
After thousands of miles, the only things that I had replaced were tires and tubes. I am amazed by how trouble-free this bike has been.
Its wasn’t until around four thousand miles that I noticed there was a noise growing louder and louder while I was pedaling.
I was pretty sure that I knew what the problem was. The chain had stretched, so it had worn the teeth on the rear cassette.
Since the noise started happening at the beginning of the lockdown, I continued to ride.
Even though the bike was noisy, it got me out riding three or four days a week up the Coast to Coast Trail.
As I began to ride over 50 miles at a time, I started thinking that it might be time to swap bicycles. Especially since most of my riding right now is on pavement.
So while the Trek Sky went into the bike shop for a checkup, I cleaned up a Trek hybrid touring bike that I had bought years ago, an X600 Navigator.
I’d originally noticed this bike in a Trek catalog. It came loaded for touring from Trek. It had fenders, racks, frame pump, lights, mechanical disc brakes, and even an unusual built in frame lock.
I ordered it through the local bike shop. He got me the smallest size, which felt a bit large, but it became my everyday bike.
I used my Trek Navigator for week long bike trips and for getting groceries pulling my BOB (Beast of Burden) single wheel trailer. Then as often happens, life got in the way and I rode it less and less, finally retiring it.
I knew it was there hanging up in my workshop, but I kept thinking “I wish the frame was just a little smaller.”
When you have a short inseam, you don’t have to think about hopping on and off a bike with a low bar. Our pair of Trek Sky mountain bikes are both women’s models and the same size.
After riding the Trek Sky with tons of clearance with the top bar, the thought of such a closer fit had me thinking it was just too large for me.
After showing a photo of the bike to Bob, a friend I’d met while riding the local trails, he reminded me of something that I hadn’t given much thought to.
“It’s not about how much room you have when you’re standing over the bike that matters,” Bob said. “It’s more important that it fits you when you’re riding it.”
Thanks to Bob for this bit of insight that probably kept me from purchasing another bike. In the last few weeks I’ve ridden my old Trek Navigator hybrid more than 400 miles and it’s been great.
Sure it feels a bit tall when I’m stopped and stand over the frame, but once I start peddling the thought goes away.
I did install a pair of the same trekking bars that I’ve been using on the mountain bike, and I have noticed a big difference between the ride between the 27.5 x 2.20″ offroad tires and the 700 x 35 mm (27.5 x 1.4″) hybrid tires.
The hybrid also has front and rear fenders, so I stay much cleaner now while riding. Especially in the rain and flowing streams across the trail that we’ve had lately.