Friday, 10 May 2013

Week 16 Maiden voyage of the "RANDONNEUR"

Can it be that different to "Scotty"

Until this point everything had been about building the bike, from the cutting of tubes, welding them up, selecting the parts, getting it painted, the assembly and finally the showing off.
Throughout this journey in the back of my mind has been the little doubt that what if it rides like a dogs dinner or even will it ride the same as my current workhorse. How different can it be? given that my current bike is fitted to me and the contact points of my new bike have been measured and positioned to replicate exactly the same different can it be?????
I am asked many times, usually whilst Mrs 'O' is complaining about my bikes to someone else, Why do you need so many different bikes? of course there are many justifiable reasons to cover up the real answer...i want more! but when asked about buying bikes i always recommend sitting on a bike before buying it remotely via the web or eBay etc as from my experience sometimes a bike just feels like a bike and sometimes it feels special, even better, sometimes it feels really special, naturally of course sometimes it feels like putting on a pair of shoes 2 sizes too small and on the wrong feet.
So what about the RANDONNEUR, i have spent a shed load of money, significantly more time, pouring over every detail of every aspect, what if it feels like a pair of shoes 2 sizes too small and on the wrong feet?????

The weather looked fine enough but to be honest i couldn't care less, it might be a new bike but it will be ridden in all the weather that this little island of ours sees, so no matter what, I'm going riding.
My plan was to go for a "shakedown" run at lunchtime, my old 15 mile route then if all was OK and perhaps with some adjustment i would commute home and back in the next day.
My new saddle felt minimalist! the bars soft and wide, the pedals new, the gear shift slick......It rode like a dream, i flew along, quite emotional, I was riding a bike I had made and it was very cool, this thought went over and over and as i went past the occasional pedestrian i felt like a peacock showing off his feathers, always ready for someone to stop me and "Wow, that's a cool bike, where can i get one?" shallow i know, but hey anyone can dream. The weather stayed cool and cloudy and before i knew it was back at work with a surprisingly sore butt, not a good sign given i had only gone 15 miles!
The journey home was equally smooth and sadly equally if not more so.....SORE!
It occurred to me on both at lunchtime and on my home that riding my new bike was at times a strange experience, i felt like i was almost flying, that the bike wasn't there, i was totally unaware of the machine i straddled and i was just travelling, progressing along the lanes as if i were hovering but not lazily, this thing was quick.
My conclusions........YES, 2 bikes set up for the same person, really can be that different, did it feel like a pair of shoes 2 sizes too small on the wrong feet, NO it felt like your favourite slippers with running spikes underneath them, albeit perhaps with a small stone in one of them, until i get used to the saddle!
I was so chuffed

i was looking forward to my trip into work and to getting to work as so many people were keen to know how the bike went, equally interested to know if it could be that different to any other bike. The journey went by trauma free and both my commute journeys were recorded pretty much in as quick a time as i had ever done.

With time on the bike there was much opportunity for thought and reflection, for planning and deciding. What to do next?
Reflecting on my above statements about bikes feeling different it became very clear that never again would i need to ride "Scotty" it wouldn't e needed as a winter hack as my new bike had disc brakes to make winter riding safer, additionally this would help fund tools, parts, FRAME BUILDING JIGS, mmmmmm Jiiggssss, but not enough! so attention then turned to my other bikes. Again in the same vein my "posh" mountain bike the Orange Elite had always felt like an ok bike but only ok, it certainly looked cooler than any other mountain bike i had ever seen and it rode ok but it was only ever OK
By comparison my old Evo felt like the best mountain bike in the world, every time i got on it, no matter what i changed or did to it, it felt fantastic and made me smile every single time. Decision made, Scotty and Elite were going on eBay with new enthusiasm to clear other stuff out too.
I had signed up to do the heart of England 300k on the Saturday but having missed so much time from the family exercising my obsession i bailed, this reducing the number of distractions allowed me time to think on my future cycle(ing) related exploits and of course spend some quality time with the kiddie winks.
By Saturday i had both bikes and my old Sub3 full sus frames prepped and ready to be posted on eBay, little did i realise the previous week that those would be the last rides i would do on them, anyway, switch flicked in my head, they are going.

Another decision this week was to not pursue my entry into LEL (London Edinburgh London 1400K audax)
Much thinking about what makes me tick, reflecting on the buzz i have got from building my bike, from making something with my hands, something i used to do, being creative.
I have never been competitive from a sport perspective and it came to me that LEL was more like ticking a box to me, it was going to take a huge amount of sacrifice, particularly time wise, then for a week of pain that i may not complete and for what, so i can tick a box. Nope, that ain't fun in my eyes, so with a heavy heart i withdrew my entry, the heavy heart was because i would be letting my buddy Tim down. I had encouraged him to enter, we had talked so much about doing the event together, we were entered as a team too, but i lack his mental strength and determination as well as cycling strength, instead i will provide a supporting role, anyway i can.

Target for the week: more targets
Total distance achieved: 114K

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