Editor's note: Casey, besides being a really nice person, is a saleswoman/mechanic at Mathieu's Cycle & Fitness in Farmingdale, Maine. And she loves riding bikes.
Name: Casey Beaudoin Age: 41 Residence (town): Fayette, Maine Raised/grew up (town): New Boston, New Hampshire
What is it you enjoy about riding a bicycle? I feel like a kid on a bicycle. I feel free and strong. I also love being outside and enjoy the scenery, and the perspective of the environment on a bicycle. I see places and things much differently from a bike than a car. Being tired and dirty after a ride is one of my favorite feelings ever. Also, the beer tastes so good after a long or hard ride.
Do you remember your first bike? I remember my first 10 speed. I only remember that it was red and I loved it. I was probably 12 when I got it. I begged and begged for a 10 speed and when I finally got it, I would race my brother and sister around what we used to call "the block." In rural Massachusetts, where my grandparents lived, it was just a series of roads that happened to connect together in a square-like route. I always won because I'm the oldest and therefore the best.
How many bikes do you now own? Your go-to bike and why? I think I have about five bikes. My go-to bike depends on what kind of riding I'm doing, obviously. I have a TT bike for tri's, a road bike for group rides, a full-suspension mountain bike, a hard-tail, carbon mountain bike, and a fat bike. My husband also rides, so our bikes take up a lot of room combined. Only my bikes seem to come inside the house though.
Do you have a favorite ride? The ride I'm on is my favorite ride. Unless it's awful, in which case, I quit bikes.
In your role as a mechanic, what would be your top tip for bicycle riders? Try to keep your drivetrain cleanish. It will really help to prolong the life of your drivetrain. When you ride, the chain is always picking up tiny dirt and debris particles which act like sandpaper to your drivetrain and wear it out more quickly. If you're not going to clean your drivetrain, at least check for wear periodically. If you catch the chain wear early, you only have to replace the chain, whereas if you wait too long you will be in for a chain, cassette, and possibly chainrings, which can get really expensive.
Disc vs. rim brakes — which are better? DISC! It's no question, really. Disc brakes are more reliable, consistent and controlled. The newest technology is so incredible that the weight difference is negligible, and the extra time you can ride without braking down hills and around corners, because of the confidence and control that disc brakes provide, mitigates any trifling weight discrepancy.
What does the future hold for bike technology? What am I, a psychic? I jest. I am relatively new to the cycling game and really new to the industry. I still don't have a bike with electronic shifting, so I hope my future holds one of those at least. I wonder about 1X drivetrains on road bikes, whether they will ever take off or not. There is a crazy new chainless, derailleur-less drivetrain prototype that CeramicSpeed just showcased at some trade show last year. That was interesting and I wonder if something like that may catch on. I'm not really sure. The technology is always moving forward. I would never have guessed about plus and fat tire bikes, so I guess I'm really not a good person to answer this kind of speculative question. I'm not that creative.
How much should someone spend on a bicycle? Any guidance? One. Million. Dollars. Just kidding. It really and truly depends on what you want to do with your bicycle. If you want to ride around town, commute, grocery shop, etc., a bike is going to cost a lot less than if you want to win Cat 1 criterium races or a UCI cross-country race. Different bikes for different games. Where will you be riding most? I would encourage anyone to research what kind of bike they are interested in and figure out what features they may or may not want and need. That research should include a visit to your local bike shop to ask questions and see some of the technology in person. I would recommend figuring out what kind of bike you want/need, then figure out a budget. That way, you can get the most bike for what you can afford. The reason that some bikes cost more is because of the materials they are made from and the components (parts) they have. For instance, there are different levels of one model of bike. You can buy a Trek FX 2, FX3, FX4, FX5, etc. They all start at the same place — same geometry, same idea, but as we go up in numbers/levels, the material of the fork or frame may change, gears increase or become more efficient, derailleur quality and performance increase. One other thing I would add is that a bike shop-quality bike is going to be more expensive than a box store bike because of quality of the bike itself and the service that you get from your friendly neighborhood bike shop people. At a bike shop, we know how to build bikes and fit bikes — it's what we do. At the box store, a teenager may be "building" your bike out of the box. Basically, I guess what it boils down to is that it doesn't have to cost a lot of money to buy a bicycle. But the more money you spend, the nicer the bike will be. Anyway, it's just money and whoever said money can't buy happiness never bought a bike.
Know a cyclist who would be an interesting person to profile? Please drop me an email under the Contact heading and we might make them a blog "star."