Friday, March 10, 2006

Oh Happy Days

Warning, this post may contain geeky content.

Last night I went to pick up my brand new bike. It is, in my rather humble yet gleeful opinion, a thing of beauty.

The frame is a delightful near racing green and the matt silver fittings really do finish it off very nicely. I'm also rather delighted to get back to having drop handlebars after a two month hiatus.

I have both front and rear pannier racks along as well as mudguards, which are confusingly referred to as fenders here in North America. In my estimation they would be unlikely to fend off anything more severe than a lightly thrown peanut butter sandwich and certainly off no protection to either rider or bike in the event of a collision. However, they do a very nice job of guarding me from mud, water and other debris from the road surface.

The bike shop, Urbane Cyclist, were incredibly kind to me and in exchange for taking the display model off their hands they threw in two bottle cages, a free upgrade on the pedals to Shimano SPDs, light mounts, a water bottle and a free upgrade on the front chainrings. The original chainrings were, I think, 25-36-44 (numbers denote number of teeth) or thereabouts. The new ones are similar to a racing configuration at 30-44-52. In conjunction with the 8 speed 12-28 gearing at the back this should mean that I can go pretty fast and, when the gradient demands, fairly slow.

I also purchased my panniers yesterday, they are slightly cliched, but very good for touring, Ortliebs. Nice, waterproof, simple and, despite the continuous development and best efforts of more local suppliers here, has never been edged out of the North American market.

Whilst I was setting up my bags to fit the pannier rack I got talking to a couple of couriers who were in doing end of day repairs to damaged tires. They seemed quite impressed, if not a little amused, at the idea of a british guy cycling solo across their country. Once again I was reminded that I'll come across the occasional mountain or two along the way and that the prairies are really flat.

It rained on the ride from the bike shop to home, which really shouldn't be allowed to happen on the day I get a new bike, but still a tremendous joy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a tip about your across Canada trip. I talked to a cross Canada cyclist a few years back. He just finished University and started right away. He told me he was not out of long tights until June. I was one time in Alberta in July and met some folks who ran into snow in the Mountains, where I had been a week earlier with beautiful shorts weather. Just be prepared for all sorts.


Blogger Across Canada said...

Thanks for the advice. I've been planning on hauling some warm stuff with me, particuarly as I'm taking a northern route through Jasper and in to Edmonton.

If things look good then I might ship some of the unnessecaries back home once I hit the prairies.

Rule number one is be prepared, rule number two is prepare to be underprepared.

Anonymous Andrew Ross said...

hey there,

Me again, i posted something a few minutes ago to your first entry. I hope to see you out on a few of the Ontario Randonnuer rides, i will be joining them sometime soon. Also, last year on part of the trip i rode with an English guy cycling across Canada ater living here a few years and was flying back home after the trip.

Blogger Tanya said...

Are you sure you won't wish for lower gears? The lowest gear on my touring bike is 30-32 and it wasn't low enough to make it up some Ontario hills when loaded down with camping gear - I would want lower in the mountains. Also I find the 52 pretty useless when loaded though of course nice for riding the touring bike unloaded. Maybe I just need bigger legs :)

Blogger Across Canada said...

I did consider sticking with the lower gear set but the bike is intended as a bit of an all-rounder. I might wish for lower gears when I get to the Rockies but I'm prepared to give it ago.

When riding my mountain bike in Holland I hit a couple of nice flats and ran out of gears at 44-12 so I reckon there is a chance I'll put it to good use. Hate to imagine the stopping distance fully loaded mind.

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