Just home from picking up my new wheels: Even the dog and the cat were interested. Being a recreational cyclist, I was a little nervous going to shop for a new bike. The Raleigh that was stolen over the weekend was my first "real" bike and I got it from a neighborhood shop not really knowing what I was doing. The shop owner was nice and helpful and didn't treat me like I was stupid. I would have gone back to him but his is a small shop and it being near the end of the season he didn't have much of a selection left. So we went to Erik's. They are a big shop. They sponsor races and even though their ads say they pedal good bikes to everyone, I was worried they'd be sneering at me. I am happy to say it wasn't like that at all. Graeme, who had a nice Australian accent, was friendly and helpful. I told him what I had and that I wanted something similar but lighter so I could ride longer distances than just to work and around the lake. He showed me a few nice bikes, Raleigh, Cannondale (maybe someday), and Specialized. As you can see from the photo I went with the Specialized (you can also tell that we need to do some sidewalk crack weeding! And that's not my full address in case you thought you could find out where I live and steal this bike from me.). I took it for a test drive in the badly paved parking lot and it was a nice ride, a good sign I think. I had a hard time picking up my former bike, but this one I could pick up with one hand (at least until I added the rack on the back, who knew a rack was so heavy?). I got a new helmet too and a lock that would take some serious work to cut. Graeme said they've had lots of people coming in lately to replace stolen bikes. The bike will be locked up, even in my locked garage! I am still sad I had to get a new bike, but I like the one I got very much. I'm looking forward to riding it to work tomorrow. Two days and no bike riding has left me a bit edgy. It also helped me realize just what a great stress reliever riding is!