I knew going in that a first triathlon requires a lot of planning and gear, especially when you don’t have any equipment.

Given that the cycling component is the longest distance, it is important to have a good bike. Once I knew my size, the next step was to actually choose a bike. And, oh my, are there decisions to make.

As with most things, budget sets a pretty useful constraint. Within that, there’s finding the sweet spot between spending enough to get something good that you won’t regret compromising on later and spending so much that you’ve exceeded your fitness level and can’t capitalize any speed gains from the purchase.

My bike sizing was based on a Trek Domane and I figured that was a good place to start. The next choice to make was between aluminum and carbon fibre. The obvious difference here is price. This Global Cycling Network video helped me understand that an aluminum frame is more than sufficient for me. Spending a few thousand extra dollars to gain a few minutes advantage in a “fun” race is a bad choice. Consistent training is going to provide a much better advantage than the choice of bike frame.

Having made it this far, I figured it was time to start looking around for options, only to find out that COVID had disrupted yet another supply chain. There are close to zero new or used bikes in the market. In fact, there was exactly one Trek Domane AL 4 in Toronto with the next nearest one 200 km west in London. The AL 4 seemed like the right balance of cost and performance for me. So, that’s now my bike!

After all that, I now have the fanciest bike (by far) that I’ve ever owned and it is -20ºC outside just after the biggest snow storm in decades. Rather than just stare forlornly at the bike for the next few months, my next purchase will be an indoor trainer, so that I can build up cycling fitness while winter carries on.