Out on the bike today for a proper (i.e. non-commute) ride. Did my little run to Cricklade and back in under an hour, which is OK. It was one of those annoying days where the wind seemed to come from all directions. I did an out-and-back ride, which should mean I only feel a headwind half the time, but I felt it for the WHOLE ride. How does that happen?
Last time I did this little jaunt I did my back in, so it’ll be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow. Lots of stretching before bed tonight.
A Few Nice Things
I’m noticing lots of cool things about my bike! They didn’t give me a manual you know. They seem to assume that if you’re buying a proper road bike then you must know what you’re doing. But dual-pivot caliper brakes, Sora gear shifters, and Tiagra rear mechs (dérailleurs to the rest of us), are, though mostly familiar, a little bit alien in some respects.
One of the nice things about Fuzzy is that he’s got lots of neat little design features that cheaper bikes don’t have. Things that make sense to have. Here’s a few:
- Quick releases. I know these are standard but I’m still made happy by the fact that I can whip a wheel off in seconds with no tools. Genius!
- Hex-key bolts…everywhere. My sister got me a multi-tool for my birthday last year, but it was pretty useless on the Raleigh as everything was screws and bolts. But pretty much everything on Fuzzy is held tight by bolts that I can loosen and tighten with hex keys. Suddenly my multi-tool is all I need!
- Gear adjustments on the down tube. I wanted to adjust my front dérailleur today and couldn’t find the screw thing to do it with. Turns out it’s on the down tube. Not REALLY sure why but you can certainly make the adjustment while you’re riding, which is pretty cool.
- Dual-pivot brakes. Not sure why these are so good, but they’re pretty solid and seem to give even braking on both sides no matter what you do to them.
- Strength. All the components are tough. I know this ‘cos I fell of and damaged more of me than of the bike!
I’m sure I’ll find plenty more as time goes on.
By the way, I don’t think I’ve posted it here yet, so here’s a photo of Fuzzy the Felt – just to prove that I DO own a nice road bike now:
In other bike news, I got a bit fed up with my local bike shop today. I took the bike in yesterday for its six-week/hundred mile free service and it came back with the transmission (chain and gears) crunching and grinding. The brakes have been tightened and they’ve true’d up the rear wheel, which was nice of them. But they’ve messed up derailleur settings before. Grrrr.
Why? Why why? WHY? Why do people who make roads put 3-foot-wide drain covers about three feet from the edge of the road? This is exactly the point at which a cyclist riding in “primary position” will need to cycle over it. I’ve passed many of these today. Options for a cyclist approaching one are:
- Dive in towards the kerb – more difficult but safer if you can do it
- Dive OUT towards the middle of the road – easier but more liable to upset motorists and/or get you knocked off the road entirely
There must be a better way!
And finally I’d like to end on…
A High Note
I’m really enjoying cycling again. After a long spell of illness and injury I feel like I’m back and it’s great to be in the saddle with the countryside rushing by, wind in my face, heart racing, watching the miles tick by. I love it.