Here’s my companion from the last Tour!!!! He was joined later by a sheep that was bought for me by a young mountain biker and his folks. Thanks Tom, Jude and Ashley 🙂

My friendly companion

Since the last post, I’ve had a good rest and are now pedalling again. It’s so nice to have achieved the goals I set myself for the year, and in the case of the last ride, exceed all my original intentions.

I’ve always been a thinker and that process continues as I try to decide the best kit, the best clothing etc etc, but I’ve suprised myself by going back to the small wheeled bike and deciding I prefer it to the all singing, all dancing bike I rode for the last two tours.

Why’s that then? Well, a few loud ‘cracks’ from the hub gears whilst in the middle of nowhere, and the reluctance of anyone to attempt to adjust the Bottom Bracket made me wonder whether or not low maintainence meant ‘low anxiety’. On top of that, my back did it’s best to feel like it might let go at any moment from the more stretched riding position. This is a major concern as I stopped riding after a Paragliding accident and previous back problem. There is no doubt that this is a great bike, and very robust, but I wasn’t sure.

After 10 days or so resting and just stretching a bit, I took the Vitesse out to see whether I did prefer it and it’s 20″ wheels. I was expecting it to be less comfortable and harder work. Ha Ha Ha, how wrong I was. It felt nippy and alive and the front was softer and more forgiving. In short, I loved it. I decided to change to the 26″ wheel Cadenza because it had disc brakes and hub gears, all low maintainence. Also, I’d worn right through a rear wheel last winter and wondered about durability of the rims.

What I have since learned is that all bikes bought complete will have areas where the producer saved pennies and pounds. I really needed to spec the bike myself with rims etc that would do the job. Before embarking down this road, I decided to ride the ‘little bike’ again. As it happens, some friends had asked me over to dinner and they live thirty something miles away, perfect.

In short, the ‘little bike’ was an absolute joy to ride, felling lively and quick,whilst being comfy and relaxed. by the time I’d ridden home again, I was completely smitten. a few bits from Ebay and it’ll be as good as new, but with lowered gearing for hauling the trailer. The other bike will now be my workhorse, doing the winter training, shopping etc.

I think it’s really important to be able to make this type of change when planning a big ride. it would be easy to beat myself up for being a ‘spanner’ and buying an expensive bike that I’m not going to use, but that would be futile, it’s done, and that’s that. it’s actually showed me how good the ‘little bike’ is and I’m thankful for that.

It’s also showed me a bit about how I want to approach the ride, relaxed and chilled and with time to look around. somehow this is easier on the ‘little bike’ with it’s more upright riding position. I guess I just got lucky when I chose the bike, that it really is a ‘good fit’, for me anyway.

Thank god for downhills.

And that is how it is, and the reason I chose to do these preperation rides. I’m learning as I go and whilst most of the kit is now sorted and settled, I still have a few things to look at. it will never be perfect, it is always a compromise of weight, comfort and safety, but I’m collecting references each day I’m out there and feeling much better prepared than I could have imagined a year ago when I dreamt this up as a possibility.

Snowdon in the background. I’ve just ridden uphil for about 15 miles!!!