In college, I had a decent Diamondback road bike that I used all the time to ride to and from class and around campus. I got it in high school, and while I didn’t know much about bikes, it was perfect for me.

Then it got stolen.

Since then, I’ve been bike-less. I never really knew what I wanted, nor did I have a reason to spend hundreds of dollars on something I wasn’t sure I’d really need now that I was out of school. When my boyfriend Dan got a bike in the fall, I was envious, but still didn’t think it was a necessity for me.

When I did a Lifetime Indoor Tri back in January, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Not only did I like the format, but I really enjoyed doing a race that wasn’t strictly running; obviously, I love to run, and that’s what I do for exercise a majority of the time, but I then started thinking about other options.

Once it got nice out in March, going for a bike ride kept crossing my mind. Seeing Dan take his bike out here and there continuously increased my desire, especially as I ran alongside him (which is not fun, by the way, because you feel like you’re running at snail speed.) Then, one day I borrowed my mom’s bike and my dad and I went for a 16-mile bike ride on different paths around Hoffman Estates, and I knew I needed one.

The problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted. Dan got a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels, which seemed unnecessarily large for me; he encouraged me to get something similar so we could go to different trails and off-roading, but that didn’t seem like my scene. Also, we just moved close to a forest preserve, so I thought getting a road bike would be more practical. After doing some research online, I decided I had to try some out.

As far as the brand, I wasn’t picky. I just wanted something nice that would last awhile, and honestly, that was a pretty color. One night I dragged Dan to our local bike shop and asked him to help me decide what I want. To my surprise, he is very knowledgeable about bikes, and was a huge help.

We went over to the female bikes and I saw the road bikes and the mountain bikes. After about 20 minutes of going back and forth, I asked a female worker what her opinion was; she said that she has both types, but while a road bike will go faster in the forest preserve, a mountain bike is a little more versatile if I ever do want to ride on more intense trails. I’m glad I asked, because I thought the opposite.

So she set me up with two bikes: the Trek Skye women’s mountain bike and the Trek Neko which is more of a hybrid. Before I even hopped on, I was already leaning towards the Neko, because it seemed more my style, plus, the Skye had those 29-inch wheels, which looked like monster truck tires on a female bike.

I hopped on the Neko first, and it was smooth, comfortable and lightweight. Until I hopped on the Skye, I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. The Skye, however, had all of the same qualities as the Neko that I liked, but somehow gave me more of a feeling of control; going up and down curbs was way easier than my Diamondback ever was, it seemed even smoothers, and I just felt overall more confident. To Dan’s surprise, I said, “I want a mountain bike.”

However, I didn’t make the purchase that night. I wanted to look around a little more, and make sure it was what I wanted to spend my money on.

I again borrowed my mom’s bike for Bike the Drive this past Sunday (which was a blast), and even though it was too small for me and my butt hurt a lot, my mind was made up. I was getting a bike this week.

With the help of one of my coworkers and George Garner Cyclery in Northbrook, I decided to stick with what I know and got a Trek Women’s Skye SL. Originally, I was hoping to get the size with the 27.5-inch wheels, but because of my height (5’8”), I was sized with the 18.5-inch frame, which only came with 29ers. When I saw it the second time though, they didn’t seem as big.

Plus, this bike came in a sky blue color with purple accents – so cute, right?

I added a water bottle holder and was quickly out the door, eager to take my new baby home and ride her around.

After just two days, I’m wondering how I went this long without a bike while working at Chicago Athlete. There’s so many cool events and products to try, I feel like my options as an athlete have instantly multiplied. While a triathlon may not be in my current race schedule this season, stranger things have happened…

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run many distance races, and is going for her first marathon at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism, and is working towards her Master in Arts in New Media and Marketing.


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