I have just sold my road bike! I own a bike shop and I love bikes. However, it’s not always about the bike. It’s the riding that is more important to me. In fact my passion for riding is more a need for speed and physical exertion. All I need is a good bike and I want it set up to perfection, tuned to me and the way that I ride. And that was what my bike was like. I have never climbed off it and felt relief. It was always comfortable. Of course many a time I have ridden myself into the ground and felt incredible fatigue and pain but never pain from the bike or the set up. My bike(s) is(are) a perfect fit and set up.
Now perfection does not mean that it is the most expensive. It is right for my riding. The bike is light enough; with pedals and bottle cages is not much above the UCI weight limit. It is made from the highest grade carbon. Yes, there is a difference! The pros ride bikes with frames costing twice the price of an Ultegra equipped bicycle. The difference is massive and once you’ve ridden at this level you can never go back. The wheels were as good as I needed, aluminium, but light and the bearings were ceramic. I have my priorities right. The transmission was fast and faultless, the shifting so good that it could not be improved even by electronic wizardry. As a bike shop proprietor you’d expect me to be riding and promoting the ultimate that money can buy but that is not me. I just want to ride. I don’t think that my bike could be improved. I could spend more money but what would the benefit be to me? I’m not a tester, I just ride for fun! I could get fitter, stronger and improve my technique and then the bike would be better.
I had raced this bike and taken it on adventures. Three stand out. The 10 day 1,600k ride from St Malo to Santander. What made this exceptional was that the team were all equally matched so we rode together, as a team, the whole way, just like our Sunday rides only longer, much longer. The second was half the time and distance but twice as hard, Biarritz to Barcelona. If we weren’t climbing it was full gas, thru ‘n off. It was really tough. Again, though less evenly matched, we rode as a team. And finally, an epic ride, last years The Dragon Ride – 190km at full tilt followed by 40km of exhausted misery.
Back to the bike, I loved it. Each and every time that I climbed on, it flew. Sometimes I could barely hang on. Every ride was as exciting as the first. I have not found an equal. Actually there is another, its predecessor, which I am using now. They make me feel free. They make me ride fast. I think they look beautiful, have style, history and racing pedigree. I once wrote that while I am still fit and strong enough to ride a pros bike then why shouldn’t I?
But now it has gone. I got it in Italy at a special price for dealers. The cost of bikes of that ilk has risen substantially since the UK voted to destroy its economy. What can I replace it with? I am running a business and so, when offered the asking price, I had to accept. I gave it a final spin on our Tuesday Night Thrash and it was gone by the Saturday. Au revoir, adios, adéu, addio, auf wiedersehen.
The old bike has been around a bit too, I suppose its a bit like going out with the older sister. They are both lovelly.