Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Roady: tales of misadventure.


So i bought a road bike. After much deliberation and some sideways looks at ebay, i decided it would be best to test ride and then make a decision. With the help of Dave-chops-optional at Alpine Bikes, i was fitted tirelessly on several bikes and given the opportunity to ride them to check for fit and comfort.

In the end i went for a cannondale caad 8 Tiagra, size 54, with triple chainring. Having not had a geared bike for 10 years, and never had a proper road bike, i was impressed that a low-of-the-mid end bike could be as light, function as well and have as many features as it did. I guess thats progress for you.

I then decided to get out for a ride to check this road riding thing out.

Glasgow on a frosty morn led to views as i climbed out to Mugdock and then onto Aberfoyle. First mistake: there is no road from here west...when i have done this previously i have gone off road albeit on flat dirt road. Oh well, over the Dukes Pass it is.

Good climbing. Getting used to the short wheelbase (relatively) and the stiff bb area. I cant see me ever going into the small chainring tho' not in the uk at least. We'll see. It can't weigh that much...

Then click up into top gears and tuck for the decent. Weight distribution good. As was noted when i was trying them out, the 54 cannondale seems to have plenty reach and excellent steering and weight distribution for my size, even though on paper it seemed small.

The road past Brig O'Turk is partially flooded and there is a new trail following the road into Glen Finglas...Hmmm.....

Thence to Calendar, a quick sausage roll and irn bru (its very cold now) and onwards. My plan was vague, i wanted to duck off south back to glasgow shortly, but had forgotten the road that does so led straight back to Aberfoyle. So, onwards to Doune and Stirling. Would i have enough light? maybe....it was a clear day after all.

With a tail wind, the road passed easily as i sped to Stirling. I.m not sure normal reach bars are my thing. I like the length of the stem to the tops, but the hoods seem maybe a cm too far....and i'm not sure i want to move the saddle forward. We'll see.

At Denny it went dark like someone turned the lights out. Again, i had not looked in detail at a route, so even though i wanted to return directly to Glasgow, infact i had to go via Kilsyth. The roads i had been on for the last hpour and a half had been unpleasantly busy. I guess the M80 road works were responsible for the back-road traffic, but i wanted off. The road to kilsyth approaching rush hour, in the dark, with no pavement and lots of winding up and down was horrific. Yes drivers screamed at me with their windows down to get lights, get off the road etc, but what were my choices? i had made a mistake and just needed to bash on, pull off when it got too busy and just try and stay safe.

A puncture in Kirkintilloch as the temperature was plunging meant my plan to take the canal back to Glasgow, and thus be off the roads, was deemed insensible. "trina! help!" i tried to warm up in the Stables pub as trina rushed to my rescue, but i had to hide under the duvet to get my core temp up.

So: what did i learn. Road riding is more than just riding. Planning routes is going to be important.

75 miles took me way longer than anticipated. 5 hours in point of fact. Either my legs are slow, or the gears don't necessarily mean average speed is huge.

Heavy traffic and bad roads are not fun.

I think i want compact short reach bars.

There we go, it isn't straight from Roleur, but its the only tale i have - so far.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're special :O)

jacquie phelan said...

Yo JON, welcome to the other side of the bicycle tracks!
I adore road riding, and sure love having some gears to choose.
Any chance yu could just reposition those brake levers closer to you (and ignore how strange it might APPEAR). Before you go get new stem.
WEre any of yr five hours in the dark?

Phil The Horse said...

Fuck Yeah! welcome to the darkside :-) Triple? with your legs? as you say you won't be needing that!

adjustablecrumpet said...

Ouch. Start as you mean to go on, eh... :-)

These:
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=36060
are cheap but a really nice shape. 80mm reach, 125mm drop, perfect for inflexible mountain biker backs.

Dean said...

Excellent! Fancy popping down for some Spring road miles (or even some Winter ones)?

For people of the same height we ride really differently shaped bikes, eh? At least your's is likely to end up prettier (ie not a gate ;^)

I'm going the way of some bars like Jenn's linked too for the next 'cross project - look real comfy.

I'm not really gay said...

welcome to a whole other world of deliberation, specification and pontification

I hope you had baggies and a peak on boy :-)

martysavalas said...

thought you'd bought a road bike, not a tourer? :)

routes - googlemaps on your phone is your friend. see Callander > Braes of Greenock > Arnprior > Fintry > Crow Road > Lennoxtown for a way to get back towards Glasgow without double backing towards Aberfoyle.

looking forward to you leading me out for the sprints at Goatee of Filth and P-B-P in the spring...

Chipps said...

Interesting... I ride a 54cm bike too. How come I can't even touch the pedals on your mountain bike then? :-)

Welcome to the world of skinny tyres. And 15mph average, including a sausage roll, IS fast. Faster that most cycling club rides... Now get some chunky Conti winter tyres on. You can save the gossamer for the summer.

Nick said...

44x16 FTW

:)

davechopoptions said...

Woooah - Marti went way easier on you than I had expected. He must be getting old and soft....

martysavalas said...

>He must be getting old and soft....
correct.

he's still an idiot for taking road bike buying advice from a fucking BMXer.

happy?

davechopoptions said...

That's better. I was worried that I'd woken in a parallel universe for a moment - now all is well in my world.

singlespeedwales said...

54cm? I'd have thought you'd gone way bigger. And triple? Dude....

(Andy Goon BTW)