From Mountain to Hybrid: “Whose Bike is that?”

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So you’re ready to switch to a new bike, huh? Well I’m in the same boat.  I’ve been riding around on the same mountain bike for far too many years now. It still rides great, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s time to upgrade this bad boy for a bike in a popular new segment that has been catching my eye.

In recent years, bicycle designers noticed a growing trend in the number of casual, recreational and commuter bicyclists. This is the category I would drop myself into and most of the riders these days. They also realized that these bicyclists have different desires for how they want their bicycles to look and perform. So what did the bicycle designers do? They created a cross functional bike called the “hybrid” bike. This bike is the best of all worlds. It is perfect for riding to work, leisurely roaming around scenic unpaved trails, or just causally rolling down the street.

After dragging alongside with all my friends and co-workers on my old mountain bike, trying to keep up to them and then seeing how much my bike weighed compared to their light commuter bikes, I realized I needed something new. My mountain bike had the tire size, tire threads, and frame weight that was perfect for when I was riding on mountain bike trails, but it lacked the comfort, ease of use, and style I was looking for when I found myself wanting to bike to work every day.

Along came the hybrid. As soon as I saw it I was attracted to it.Screen-Shot-2012-12-06-at-12.06.41-PM  A lot of people I work with have these superfast, lightweight, carbon-framed road bikes with the skinny ole’ tires, but I quickly realized that that was not my style. What the hybrid offered me that road bikes didn’t was what appeared to be, a hell of a lot more comfort. The saddles on those bikes were so small and with no cushion! Not only that but I would constantly have to scope out each trail trying to dodge every bump because of the lack of suspension in the front forks. Call me lazy for not wanting to avoid every pot hole and bump on my bike ride, but I enjoy the ease of bicycling.

After I found what style of bicycle I was looking for, the finer search began as I looked for what specific model would appeal to my desires the most. I quickly turned to the Schwinn Bikes website. There I found a wide range of bikes, each with their own unique features.  With prices varying from $210 – $980, I felt like I didn’t have to break open my piggy bank to find the perfect bike.

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So I stuck to the features I wanted to find in my bike. I wanted a comfy stature while riding, not leaning too forward and not so far back where I’d be sitting straight up. Then the suspension fork; got to have it. I’m not trying to get rattled to smithereens if I decide to take off road it and take the gravel trail home.  Of course I need 24-speeds for maximum comfort when riding any terrain, and up or down hill. Last on my need list was disc brakes. I didn’t want to be riding to work and NOT have the option to stop on a dime if a squirrel was to dart right in front of me. (You see, you always have to be thinking about others when you make your choices too; it’s not always about you.)

So with my wishes and the animal’s consideration in place, I narrowed it down to the perfect bike for a commuter/recreational style rider like me. The Schwinn Searcher 2.The features on this bicycle matched my description perfectly.S14_700M_Searcher2_SLV

  • Suspension fork: SR Suntour® NEX suspension fork with hydraulic lock-out create a smooth responsive ride. Check.
  • Stylish: this model comes in a sleek gray with black and red accents. Not too much flash but not dull either. Check.
  • 24 Speeds: Shimano Alivio®/Acera® components with 24-speeds and Shimano Acera Rapid Fire+® shifters for quick shifting. Check.
  • Disc brakes: Tektro Novella disc brakes for extra stopping power, CHECK!

My next step was to find the right size.  I’m an average height kind of guy coming in around 5’10, 5’11 on a good day, so I asked some of my friends who are avid bike riders and they suggested that a “medium” bike would fit me just fine. For all you taller folks out there, 6’0” is on average the cutoff where you would find yourself looking at a Large or X-Large bike size.

 

Finally, the purchase! That moment when all of your hard work searching for the right bike pays off! Now in my opinion, this is the most exciting phase of finding a bike, so hang on to your seats because your about to be riding around in a brand new bike that all your friends are going to be eyeing up.

Get out and ride!

– Aric

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A Colorful Summer: Target Popcycles

This week I got together with two of my friends at the University of Wisconsin -Madison Terrace to catch up and also show off some of our latest Schwinn bicycles available exclusively at Target, the “Popcycles“.S14PH_12507Right away we all gravitated toward a color that seemed to fit our personality. Sammi, girly, kind, and a true sweetheart, picked the pink popcycle. Jozi who is a firecracker and is the warmest most optimistic person you’ll ever meet picked the vibrant orange popcycle. As for me, the powder blue popcycle just seemed to fit my personality, calm, creative and sensitive.

Mendota_Blue_chairs12_8802For us the bikes seemed like a perfect fit to the already colorful Terrace. For those of you who have never been to the UW-Madison Terrace, you should know that the colorful seats that occupy the waterfront space are something of an iconic image for the area. The opening of the Terrace, when they put out the chairs, is an official mark for students and alumni alike that Spring classes are ending and Summer is beginning. Sammi, Jozi, and I have all spent many summers at the Terrace hanging out with friends, grabbing a Babcock ice cream cone, or a frozen drink from Peet’s Coffee and Tea, or if we had to, study for an exam. If you ever come to Madison WI, in the summer it is undoubtedly a “must-see” spot!

The bicycles in the popcycle line are Hybrid bikes, which make them excellent bikes for getting around the campus area. Hybrids combine features of both road and mountain bike styles to optimize on comfort which make them a great go-to bike for both fitness and commuting needs. Or in our case an excellent choice for a casual ride that was in need of a stylish upgrade.

By the way, did you check out are headgear? While these fashion forward helmets aren’t available in store yet (wink), check out these similar urban style helmets that will keep your head safe without cramping your style!

Get out and Ride! (with a Friend…at the Terrace… on a Popcycle!)

Samantha

To see the full Popcycle line, head over to: Target Popcycles