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Steve Wagner, Published March 25 2012

Options open with new workout components

So I finally pulled the trigger. To satisfy my intrigue with cycling, and determined to add a new component to my endurance training, last week I visited a local bike shop.

Patiently, a guy at the shop explained the differences between some of the various models, and encouraged me to ride some before making a purchase. Dressed in work clothes, I decided it might be best to come back another day, at least when I had a different pair of shoes to slip on.

When I arrived home, I fired up my laptop to do some research. Was the bike I was looking at worth it? Or should I step up another model, even though I really didn’t ask questions about it, because it offered some better components such as higher-end gearing.

And a few friends who know a lot more about cycling than me kept telling me, “Components make a huge difference.”

So the next day I found myself back in the shop looking at a bike that received rave reviews, particularly for entry-level road cyclists. This might be just the one for me.

Another guy at the shop patiently answered my questions, many of which showed just how little I know about cycling and bikes. And then it came time for a test ride.

Quickly I found myself at the end of the block, taking a right turn and then pedaling. The fear I anticipated from riding on those skinny tires was immediately replaced by exhilaration. “So now I know why cyclists love this sport,” I muttered, having gone less than a half mile. And the help from the local bike shop put me at ease and comfortable with the purchase.

The distant memory of a 13-mile ride on a mountain bike through the city a few years ago became all that much more comical to me. That ride with a friend came after running 16 miles earlier in the day, and pushing the heavy mountain bike around for the equivalent of a half marathon left me sore for days. And it discouraged me from pursuing the idea of cycling.

Now I find myself equally excited to cycle and run. Maybe a sprint triathlon is in my future?

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com.