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For a recent milestone birthday, Rick, my husband, gifted me a Bianchi Dama Intenso. It was, as a friend said, an ABC gift. But not the kid version of ABC, or as we used to say, an “already been chewed” hand me down type of gift. Instead, this is the adulting ABC type of gift, which means, “Anniversary, Birthday and Christmas,” all wrapped into one.
My fascination with Bianchi started one day when we went to our local bike retailer, Chain Reaction Bicycles, to test-drive bikes. As I looked around the shop, I saw all different types of bikes; some were road bikes, some were mountain bikes, and some were hybrid bikes. There were a lot of bikes to choose from, and initially, I was drawn to one bike in particular because the frame was a beautiful red color! If you are from the South, y’all know how we feel about our collegiate sport, so this red bike appealed to my UGA Bulldog spirit!
We asked if I could test ride it and to my surprise, they said, I could! I rode the bike around the parking lot, and I must say, it was love at first sight (or in my case, ride.) There was something so special about the bike; the way it rode was so smooth, the handlebars were so comfortable, the gears shifted so easily, and more than anything, riding it was so comfortable and effortless. I felt like a kid again! To say that I loved this bike was an understatement. Except that after further review, there was just one tiny problem; it was the wrong frame size!
So, my search continued. We rode hybrids, road bikes, beach cruisers, and nothing felt as unique as that Bianchi bike. I read a lot of bike blogs, watched a lot of videos, talked to lots of riders, still no bike. Then one afternoon, we were riding with the Chain Reaction group when Eileen Cohen, the shop owner, encouraged me to get fitted for a road bike. Eileen is not only a great ambassador for the sport, but she is a trusted friend, and under her tutelage and support, I have become a more confident rider.
I went to see Brad Harman in the store and asked him to help me find a bike. You could tell he was genuinely interested in figuring out what I was looking for. I described to him in painstaking detail how I felt when I first rode that red Bianchi. I will never forget what he said to me, “Riding a bike is an experience; you want to have that type of feeling or experience every time you ride it.” And with that, we decided to order a Bianchi Dama Intenso. I am not one to geek out on many things, but this bike, this bike is beautifully engineered. As noted by one of my fellow riders, “that is one sexy ride.” And I would have to agree, the craftsmanship on these bikes is stunning.
I love that I can ride on just about any surface! Whether we are on the road or our local sandy canal, the bike experience is the same, smooth and comfortable. My suggestion to anyone new to cycling, test ride until you find the bike YOU LOVE riding.
We are so close to reaching our stretch goal!