It has been nearly a month since I was last on a bike for any decent length of time and nearly 3 weeks since my bike was stolen and with it now most likely never to be seen again I’ve decided to move on with things and get myself a new one while the sales are hot.
The big question was: what do I primarily need the bike for?
When buying my Specialized Hardrock back in July I was clear on what I wanted and clear about the price however I am not so much so now. So I spent a lot of time trawling the internet on sites such as Wiggle and various stores shops around where I live in Leeds. In amongst the chains of Halfords, Edinburgh Cycle Co-Op and Evans stores there are a few gems of family run stores in Leeds. Woodrups is a prime example. Just off the canal towpath and on a the major artery of Kirkstall Road it is in a prime location and is where I got my Hardrock from. There is also The Cycle Shop over in Cross Flats which is fantastic and I very nearly walked out with a bike there and then but I committed to just browsing at that point. Chevin Cycles is in Otley, where I work, is in an incredibly popular cycling area set at the foot of the Chevin ridge.
So with browsing complete and catalogues gathered I began to work out what I wanted. I have ridden mountain bikes for well over a decade now, the last 3 years with front suspension and I must admit they did the job adequately both on and off road. But I am no longer as off road for as long I thought I would be, no rampaging through the rocky hills or forging rivers for me. The most I would go on are loose gravel/woodland paths, muddy fields or cobbles so I decided against a mountain bike this time. I also have had my fair share of problems with disc brakes and find that both these and suspension are key features that make a bike look more impressive and expensive and therefore attract attention in the form of pesky thieves.
So that brings us to Road and Hybrid/Cross bikes. I haven’t ridden a drop down handle bar bike since my brothers very old 2nd hand Raleigh racer back when we were kids. So old that the gear levers were on the diagonal bar on the bike’s frame! Also, the incredibly thin tyres with no tred would limit me to just roads, all but removing my towpath jaunts and woodland adventures. Not to mention that the tiny contact patch with the road scares me slightly!
So Hybrid/Cross it was. Flicking through the Ridgeback, Dawes and Specialized catalogues I noted that essentially all the bikes had very similar price levels to each other and had very similar features compared to the price. So of course from there you go and ask friends for recommendations and experiences. One recommended Edinburgh Cycle’s Revolution brand. Usually aimed at those looking for work horse bikes or entry level no-fuss bikes at a good price. I was suspicious, so I went to go try some out. Their range of Hybrid bikes, although impressive specs wise wouldn’t do the job for me as most only have 8 gears. Not enough to cycle up the Chevin or the substantial hills in South Leeds on the best of days.
I was directed to the Revolution Cross, I’ve never really known much about cross bikes but in principle it sounded perfect. Even the price was half that of it’s non-Revolution entry level Cross Bike brothers. It has a racing frame built for roads but with features such as knobbly tires making it suitable for a thrash around the woods or muddy fields. With good clearance for mudguards and panniers it seems to me that it could be a great way to go forward by bike. But still what it says on paper isn’t always the important thing.
The guy at the shop said to take it for a whirl around the streets and along the park next door and to see what I thought. I was impressed, it was controllable withclean and clear gear changes (even though it took me a while to work out how to do it!). It was dead easy to get up the steep hills and was fine over the bouncy stuff. I was sold, it will take a little getting used to with the very light racing frame and drop down handlebars but I am genuinely excited about having bought something that should make my life a lot easier! I struck at the right time as well as these are on a pretty good discount and there were just 4 available in the country before I ordered mine!
So, bike ordered, parts ready, winter gear purchased. The clock ticks down to the end of the week and a first ride back from the shop. I cannot wait!