Its not a road bike OK!

I’m not a roadie hater, or embarrassed to ride on the road on a road bike – BUT I DON’T HAVE A ROAD BIKE ALRIGHT!!!

But I do think that “they” as a breed can be a little odd.. The lyrca and brightly coloured team kits for starters!

Anyway, a few years ago I was tempted by the “dark side” as its often referred and then I discovered you get “road bikes” that you could also ride off the road!  This sounded more like me! Continue reading “Its not a road bike OK!”

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Hang on, let me explain…

I know I profess to be a mountain biker but you do see me on something different from time to time, so I thought I’d so a little post about me and my flirtations with the curly bars.

Firstly let me put this out there LOUD and CLEAR – I hate riding on the road!

It’s my least favourite place to ride and I just hope I am a more considerate driver than most of the drivers that seem to pass me on my local roads.  So why do I ride such a bike?

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So this is a cyclocross (or CX) or gravel bike, not a road bike. That means I can (and do) ride it in places that are not suitable for your average road bike.

Someone told me a road bike would be good for fitness and winter riding. I’m not sure I ever really believed that but I first got interested in something like this when I saw pictures of bikes being ridden on the Tour Divide. Ok they are not cyclocross bikes, they are adventure bikes, rigid 29ers and basically sturdy mile munching cart horses. I liked the idea of this and as I explored and Googled around the topic I started to come across what I considered to be cool looking bikes with drop / curly bars but in muddy and dusty places.  I was hooked!

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So now what?

Well I often get the cyclocross bike out when I want a quick blast and don’t want to get too dirty, so I take in a few quite roads, have an urban explore and hit some tracks.  Occasionally I go full off road and take it up the local hill, but mostly its road and gravel tracks.

I really honestly don’t enjoy the road bits. I’m not against the concept of road riding and I actually enjoy the speed and covering the distance – but I really hate being buzzed by inconsiderate motorists. Its pretty scary when a car passes within 2 feet of you at 40 miles an hour!  But its a means to an end sometimes.

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Connecting up some trail and gravel tracks with road is a necessity around where I live and is certainly easier on a cyclocross bike that a mountain bike.

But why the cyclocross bike? What’s so good about riding a cyclocross bike? Why not just ride your mountain bike?

  • For starters it gets me off the road a little quicker! Making light work of the road sections.
  • I don’t take a pack, travel light which is refreshing and simplifies my ride.
  • It makes you very aware of where your wheels are going – line choice becomes very important when your wheel is only an inch wide instead of 2-3 inches!
  • The bike is not forgiving off road so I think improves your bike handling skills
  • Variety is the spice of life isn’t it?

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Accidentally on the Ridgeway

Near Avebury Wiltshire, Ridgeway

I had no intentions of going on this ride. In fact I set out to go for a bit of a spin on the road on my Genesis CDF. Yes, I was planning on avoiding the mud and opted for a cleaner ride and maybe just 10 miles or so before settling down for an afternoon of rugby.

After struggling up a local road climb (Clyffe Pypard), a stupid voice in my head told me I needed more climbing and shouldn’t stop there so I made my way over to Hackpen Hill and up on to the Ridgeway. Continue reading “Accidentally on the Ridgeway”

New Beginnings

Specialized rockhopper 29er

The 29er has gone. Yes my Sepecialized Rockhopper has left the building and is off to pastures new – somewhere in Swindon!

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with that bike for a few years, never quite deciding if I enjoyed riding it or not. One minute I was having a great time riding cross country routes or commuting, the next I was gingerly descending a local trail perched right over the bars.

The thing is I was trying to use it for too much and I have learnt more so in the last 6-12 months that bike geometry really makes a difference and the differences exist for a reason.

The Rockhopper was an XC, possibly race oriented set up with a relatively steep head angle and when I tried to ride terrain that I also rode on my full suspension Giant, I felt a little unbalanced. So, to save the Giant mostly for trail centres I decided an alternative bike was required for local riding and a Genesis Alpitude turned up for sale right on my doorstep. Its slack head angle and long travel fork has been great fun and the 29er has been gathering dust.

Occasionally using it for some short road trips into the shops, I was finding a use for it, but something was nagging at the back of my head. Maybe, just maybe I should buy a road bike?

For the last year I have been tempted by the cyclocross idea, not racing but the idea of a road bike that I could take, well off road! And no sooner did I start to think more seriously about this in the last few weeks did yet another Genesis turn up, this time a CDF and on eBay.

So the funds have been raised by selling the Rockhopper and I will be picking up a “new” bike within the next few days. Opening a new chapter in my cycling with a Cyclocross or CX bike.

I am sure this will provide me with ample material for new photos and blog posts. Now I must go and clean my hard tail after last nights little ride where it got surprisingly muddy.

muddy Maxxis. HighRoller