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!”→
Ok it wasn’t on a mountain bike but it was on a cyclocross/gravel bike and was hard work in yesterday’s heat.
I didn’t have much of a plan. I’d loosely mapped out a 100km route and I had 3 main check points.
Solsbury Hill (From the Peter Gabriel song)
The Bath Two Tunnels
and getting home via the Caen Hill Locks by 9pm
I set off after 1pm with a sort of plan that it would begin to cool as my ride went on rather than get hotter, and because I’d had a few beers the night before and didn’t feel like riding in the AM.
My journey took me along probably 50km of cycle paths (40km of which were rough – the Kennet and Avon tow path sounds lovely but its bumpy and rough for a 30km stretch). And 50km or roads and paved tracks.
My bike is a Genesis CDF – a few years old, and is a steal cyclocross machine weighing around 12kg I think – haven’t weighed it. And I currently have fitted some Specialized Borough tyres – these are great for the smoother surfaces but don’t hide the bumps of the Kennet and Avon Canal tow path!
I didn’t really plan this very well and though I thought I did OK, it shows that with some better planning I would have had plenty of energy
I carried 2 x 500ml bottles that I refilled in a pub, a camp site and with a bottle purchased from a shop. So I drank around 4 litres as well as a milk shake and a bottle of coke.
Before I left I’d had some eggs for breakfast and bacon sandwich for lunch.
Food en route consisted of 3 basic cereal bars, and half a pack of Haribos.
Elapsed time 7 hrs 55 min
Moving time 5 hrs 57 min
Max speed 64kmph
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?
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!
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.
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
No it wasn’t my birthday, but somehow I managed to ride all 4 of my bikes at the weekend all with in the space of 24 hours! Here’s how it happened.
Bike 1 – DMR Wrath
Location – Devizes Skate Park
My daughter was going to play with a friend for the day in Devizes, so when I dropped her off at her home I took my DMR Wrath the skatepark. The DMR Wrath is a kindof half BMX cruiser and half jump bike, I’m not sure I can go down to a 20″ BMX so I think this bike has to move on sometime soon so I can make room for a proper jump bike (or maybe I’ll just fit some forks to this one??).
The skatepark is great fun, with some 4 and 5 foot quarter pipes which are great fun to pop out of and to drop in. It makes you think about your back wheel and chainring positions you have to “jump” in.
My goal for the mini session was to “air out” of one 4 foot and clear the coping to land on an adjacent 4 footer – sort of like a kicker jump. I just about managed to do this and left before the skateboarders I was chatting to could convince to have a go on 4 wheels!
Bike 2 – Genesis CDF
Location – “Around town”
Under the pretense of going to the bank to get my kids their overdue pocket money out, I decided to help the environment and make the short trip on my cyclocross bike instead of taking the car. What should have taken 30-40 mins took almost 2 hours as I had some fun on the dry and dusty trails taking the long way home.
Bike 3 – NS Bikes Surge EVO
Location – Local trails, Calstone
A friend of mine has decided to get a mountain bike to get some exercise and lose a bit of weight. Saturday evening I had offered to introduce him to a short local loop to get him off road. He and his wife are also a friends of my wife and she actively encouraged me to go out with him (this couldn’t get any better)…
So we had a little pedal as I got him introduced to some locations on his doorstep he had never even been to. Once he’d had his intro, he went home for a curry and I had another blast around.
Bike 4 – Vitus Escarpe VRX
Location – Cotswolds
This was my only planned ride for the weekend and the weather was perfect for an explore around some semi-familiar trails near Uley and Dursley in Gloucestershire.
Some great fun was only dampened slightly by one of the gang having a potentially really nasty over the bars moment on the most tame part of the trail.
We still managed a couple of hours riding and enjoyed the sun.
Short video below of Sunday’s ride. Next stop Ladybower Reservoir!
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.