Bicycle Race.

“I want to ride my bicycle.
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle.
I want to ride it where I like.”

From “Bicyle Race” by Queen.


After much deliberation I have taken the plunge and bought a new bike for the commute to and from work (and for general fun and fitness).  I found it helpful to search other blogs and chat-room forums and reviews to assist in my decision – together with some very helpful advice from my neighbour.  I thought it might help someone else if I posted a few comments on my choice.

Firstly, I went for a hybrid which is essentially a mountain bike frame with gearing more suited to road use, particularly more teeth on the front chain sprockets.  I wanted something that would bomb down the cycle lane, so was advised against a comfort or cruising bike and I opted for something with 700 wheels which are larger that the traditional 26″ wheels found on most mountain bikes and many hybrids.  Slick tyres also help with speed and effort for a ride that is mainly on tarmac.

I purchased a Giant Escape R1.  It looks great and rides super-fast! 

There were a couple of essential upgrades.  I reluctantly included mudguards.  I always think they instantly make a bike look boring, but I’ve spent the past few months collecting all kinds of crud on my frame, pannier, clothes and shoes.  I got some Giant QR race guards which are practically invisible and will hopefully limit the amount of spray and rubbish I attract.  I had  to get a new pannier rack given the existence of disk brakes compared with my last bike (a trusty companion of 15 years).  The Top Peak rack is really solid and my Altura Night Vision pannier clips on with more more ease than on my previous rack.  

The bike is matt black and looks pretty mean.  It makes up for the fact that my high viz jacket and 1500 candlepower lights render me brighter than a crowd of ravers with glo sticks.  It’s hard to believe that I didn’t get hit in traffic during my student days of wearing black all the time, cycling daily and often having dead batteries in my lights…


6 Responses to “Bicycle Race.”

  1. 1 brunettekoala March 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    You never got hit? In Aberdeen? They have some of the meanest cyclist hating drivers/bus drivers around too. That’s pretty amazing.

  2. 2 thestatethatiamin March 31, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Yeah, I know – especially given that all I practically wore was black…

  3. 3 sarahbereza April 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    so Bicycle Race is one of my favorite pop songs…

  4. 4 theWeir April 2, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    looks like you’ve picked up a noble steed there. nice one!

    the mudguards thing is an interesting one – I’ve had them on my bikes since I got my first MB (only 15 yrs ago!). people laugh, but I didn’t ruin my threads (!) after one ride, did I!?

    it’s pretty much essential in our climate, so good one for keeping the faith.

    Pannier rack tho – WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? that just screams geography teacher! ;-p

    Here’s to many thousands of happy miles.

  5. 5 thestatethatiamin April 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    @The Weir – Geography teacher!!! – man, judging from the brown cordorouy blazer in my wardrobe and comfy Clarks wallabees that adorn my feet from time to time, that could be deemed high praise indeed. When do I graduate to requiriing elbow patches on my jackets?

    I take it you are a backpack or courier bag man? I must admit I was tempted by the nice refelctive courier bag that Howies have on their website at the mo’, but found the pannier an easier solution for keeping my work shirt uncreased – sensible AND functional…oh dear, there goes my street cred…

    So, isn’t it about time we reconvened for lunch?


  6. 6 thestatethatiamin May 8, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Okay, so a few months of riding in – how’s the bike holding up?

    The gears are a dream – the shifters are so easy to use and if the alignment slips it merely involves a turn by hand of a dial near the sprockets. I found my hands a little cramped for space, but a simple addition of some stumpy bar ends has solved that and led to a more comfortable ride position.

    The bike is comfy, light and fast. The brakes responsive and the ride effortless. It’s less forgiving on the cobbles than my mountainbike and I may use the old GT Outpost over the winter months as I’ve still to see how the thinner wheels and slick tyres cope with more slippery conditions.

    All in all, no regrets with the purchase and still regularly smiling on the commute.

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