I retired my roadie after 16 years – and bought a new gravel bike

I retired my roadie after 16 years – and bought a new gravel bike

I rode this Trek 5200 for 16 years. I finally put it out to pasture this week. Chris LeBlanc photo

I retired a trusty steed this week.
I’ve been pedaling a blue Trek 5200 since 2004. Back then, it was a top-of-the-line bike, roughly the same frame on which Lance Armstrong had won his 1999 Tour de France.
I was 40 years old when I bought it, paying a whopping $2,300. That seemed like a lot, but that old Trek became my primary mode of transportation for years. I’ve more than wrung my money out of it.
I logged 16 years of happy trails on that bike.
At first, I used it only for long-distance riding. I’d take it to the Hill Country, where I knocked out 60 or 70 miles at a time. It carried me from Houston to Austin for the MS150, then from Seattle to Portland. It was my go-to steed for the Willow City Loop in the Texas Hill Country each spring. A few years ago, I rode all the way across Iowa, pausing at corn on the cob stands, slip’n slides and pork chop trucks during RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Ride Across Iowa.
It became my primary commuter bike seven or eight years ago, whisking me from my home in Allandale to swim practice and the Austin American-Statesman four or five days a week. I rode it to interviews and restaurants, and everywhere in between.

Behold my new Specialized Diverge, a banana cream pie-colored gravel bike. Chris LeBlanc photo

This week, I finally gave up on that old bike. It had been nursed along enough years. The components were worn out. My spine felt every jolt; I needed something smoother.
Yesterday I came home with a new ride, one built to handle gravel roads. My new Specialized Diverge gives me shivers of happiness.
She’s the color of banana cream pie, and glides like a Rolls Royce.
And if she lasts as long as my last bike, I’ll be riding her until I’m 72.

She rides like a Rolls Royce. (At least I think she does. I’ve never ridden in a Rolls Royce.) Chris LeBlanc photo

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