Thursday, 17 April 2014

Commute, commute, commute

Nothing that exciting about today's cycling. I ride to work and back. I could've gone out tonight but instead, as I'm getting out on Friday and Saturday and going to Franklins Gardens to see the Saints on Sunday I felt I ought to be a good husband and father and get some housework done. I have got stuff to discuss though.

The first relates to the sign above. Every day this week I have passed this sign encouraging drivers to think bike. Now this message originally related to our motorcycle cousins but as the Lycra loonie numbers have swelled I'd like to think they mean bike in every sense of the word. With that in mind it saddens me to report there was an incident for one of riders last night with a lorry going home from vroom Wednesday. Poor Jonesy took a torrent of abuse from a trucker and was intimidated out of the way. That's not on. I wish he'd rang the 'how's my driving,' number on the back of the lorry.

My second topic goes back to a conversation I was having on vroom last night. I love Clive, my Forme Longcliffe 2.0, it's the perfect bike for me due to being quite quick but also comfortable on long rides.  It's sales description is: 

"The perfect machine for any cyclist looking for a serious bit of kit to improve their fitness and get their endorphin kick! The Longcliffe 2.0 is also ideal for the experienced cyclist looking for a training bike with the best balance of high quality componentry without the need to fork out for the usual upgrades. In addition to triple butted AL7005 tubing we also feature a custom factory built Mavic Aksium wheelset and Shimano 105 transmission system."

Now that's all great but there's just one thing that nags me. The compact chainring 50/34 is great for the hills but I'm a downhill specialist and I feel I'm a gear light. Since switching from my steel framed triple, Bob (a lovely bike but built for my Dad whose 6ft 6" and I'm only 5ft 11 and 32/33rds,) there are segments I just can't beat. My belief is that's down to Bob having a triple chainring of 52/42/30. There's the problem right there...I'm now cycling with a bunch of blokes constantly talking about their bits of kit. A couple of years ago if you'd asked me about my gears I'd say they're shimano something or other (it was tiagra,) and I've got 27, three chain rings and 9 on the back, I didn't know what size but now I know it was 25-12. Now I'm acutely aware I'm running 105 10 speed 24-12. I'm looking at options Di2, Dura Ace, Ultegra etc. Here's my plan that I've got by doing way too much reading. 11 speed on the back and keep the compact. 50-11 being a bigger gear than 52-12 so I get a bit more umph but keep the compact for climbing. Now the options for this start at Di2 and having looked at some online retailers (for price purposes only Andy and Chris, I observe rule #58 support your local bike shop,) I think £1700 for the group set on an £900 bike is really a bit silly. There's an option at 105 though and I think this is what I'll do. Now the process starts proper. I have to talk to everyone about it. People will tell me that campagnola and SRAM do 11speed set ups. Others will say just change the chain rings. It will go on for ages and I'll change my mind a million times. It seems that if the number of bikes you need is n+1 where n is the number of bikes you already have then the bits on your bike that need upgrading are n+infinity where n is the number of bits you've changed already. As my long suffering wife remarked:"why did you get that bike if it wasn't what you needed?" It's not that simple dear (although it probably is!)

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