The bike has been through what can only be described as a thorough shake down, one week, 90 miles in rain, wind, sleet, snow and sub zero temperatures. Saying that, I have also been through a thorough shake down! This is my first sub zero cycling experience and I am still trying to digest what is worse, extreme heat or extreme cold!
So I bring to you a bit of a review of my experiences this week on the bike:
Being a Mountain Biker for such a long time, swapping to a racer/cross is quite odd, it’s a bit like going from one game console to another, it works exactly the same and does pretty much the same things but just in a slightly different way. It takes a little while to get used to it! and it wasn’t really until mid week I had become confident enough to start “dancing” on the pedals and get my balance right.
I am quite sore generally this weekend, the 3 main contact patches we have with a bike, (feet, wrists and bum) are just about getting used to new pedals, handle bars and saddle position but I must admit the use of foot cages is taking a while to perfect! And the other major different is the way the gears change with the changers being on the front of the drop down handle bars and a flick inwards of the break levers is needed to change down. All very strange initially but I am just about getting there.
Once I adjusted and balace set I was stunned at how easy and smooth the ride was and also how powerful the bike was in acceleration. My ride out of the traffic lights has been significantly easier compared to when I had a MTB. Also the speeds I can reach on the Cross is far higher than what it was on the MTB. There is a stretch of road between Otley and Headingley here in Leeds (more specifically the Dyneley Arms to the Ramada Jarvis Hotel) that seems to have been built specifically for attacking cycling and I was absolutely flying along the road.
The Cross has foot cages on the pedals which is again new to me and it is a lot of concentration to try and re-set my feet into them at traffic lights so I am increasingly looking for urban furniture such as bollards, railings or traffic lights themselves. Hopefully it will become second nature soon enough to flick my feet back in to them over the next few weeks.
I’m very happy with the grip the knobbly cross trail tyres provided, even in the quite heavy snow of yesterday morning I had no problems at all until negotiating a particularly icy hill when in sub-zero temperatures. Even on one road which the semi slick tyres I used on the old MTB struggled in wet weather these tyres provided superb grip.
Mechanically the bike is fantastic, as you would expect for a brand new bike, but there have been no problems with brakes which are wonderfully effective and balanced even in poor weather and the gear changes are smooth and provide a very good range on hills and the descent. Infact so much so I find the very top two gears are a little too much even on the flats. However this could be my own fitness not being at quite its peak. The bike is also incredibly light even when loaded up with an array of lights and other accessories meaning it is very easy to move on and off trains or through the house which is its current home.
So in conclusion, I am loving the new bike, fantastic quality for a surprisingly cheap bike, as dubious as I was about Edinburgh Cycle Co-op’s Revolution own brand range, my fears and concerns have been replaced by the feeling that what you get is a bit of a bargain!
I might give cycling this week a miss, with more snow expected and temperatures down to -7 Celcius this morning it is not really very good for a human’s health to have a daily lung busting run up the Otley Chevin and Belle Isle hill. These conditions are distinctly un late November like in the UK with temperatures usually +7! The roads are quite icy off the main routes and the cycle lanes are either sheet ice or a horrible slushy mush. As much as I love cycling in the cold crisp winter air I am not willing to put myself at risk against the rush hour traffic when it is icy, dark, snowy and very cold.