As a kid, and into young adulthood, I rode a variety of bicycles. I rode the ridiculous Stingray around the back roads of Lawton Oklahoma. As a teenager, I loved a Windsor bicycle made from Reynolds steel. I put a ton of miles on that bike in various parts of Washington state. I pretty much turned my back on cycling when I ran track and cross-country in college.
After I moved to the Bay Area, I owned several different bicycles, none of which saw much use. I picked up this Giant OCR1 in 2005, which then languished in my garage for several years. I got more serious about riding in 2009, partly to lose weight and partly because my knees had reached the point where I couldn’t run really long distances any longer.
So I dug out the OCR1, had it tuned up, and started riding.
I learned — and re-learned — a lot over the next several years riding that OCR1. I learned that padded vinyl bicycle seats are a terrible thing, and replaced it with a Brooks B17 leather saddle — essentially identical to the saddle I had on that Windsor bike in my teenage years. I learned that toe clips were even more of a nuisance than I remembered, and transitioned to the unfortunately named clipless pedals and actual cycling shoes. I learned that tires were important to ride quality, and switching to better tires made an incredible difference in overall ride quality.
The OCR1 proved to be the perfect re-entry into cycling. When I originally bought it, the bike cost just under $1,000. The aluminum frame and carbon fork were serviceable enough, and it included a high end, Shimano Ultegra drive train, except for the Truvativ crankset and a Shimano 105 front derailleur. That Ultegra kit included a 9-speed rear cassette and the Truvativ crank sported a 52/42/30 tooth triple front chainwheel, something you don’t see any longer. Most triples today are low-end or midrange, and have become increasingly rare in an era of compact doubles with 11-speed rear cassettes. And unlike similar bikes today, the OCR1 included braze-ons for a rack.
I put a fair number of miles on the OCR1, but my somewhat fragile back eventually began complaining during longer rides. Despite the carbon fork, the aluminum frame’s somewhat harsh ride translated to noticeable aches and pains as ride lengths increased to over 20 miles. So I began searching out carbon frame bikes.
Still, I remember the OCR1 fondly. It whipped me into reasonable cycling shape at a relatively modest cost. On the other hand, it also began my current obsession with cycling and cycling gear. Win some, lose some.