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New addition to the stable
There’s a popular equation with cyclists, that the ideal number of bikes to own is n+1. However many you have, you always want another one. Given unlimited funds and garage space it would be great to have a bike every occasion, such as a Surly Moonlander for when it snows, a cargo bike for doing the shopping and so on. It’s not to be, and I do try and keep my number bikes down, and enforce my own ‘one in, one out’ policy.
That doesn’t mean I don’t try a lot of bikes though, and I’m always fettling or trying something else. In my current stable are:
Colnago CLX 3.0
A lovely carbon road bike that is a joy to ride. Comfortable, ‘chuckable’ and as fast as I can make it. It doesn’t hold me back, I hold it back. It is perhaps too nice to ride through winter/commuting and all its gritty muck however, especially with its lack of mudguard clearance. Which is why I put together…
Boardman CX Custom build
I wanted a versatile, ‘do anything, go anywhere’ bike for winter rides/commuting with the ability to run larger tyres and mudguards at the same time, with possibly disk brakes for better stopping power in the winter. This criteria usually means a cyclocross bike, and I found a Boardman CX aluminium frame + carbon fork on ebay that fitted the bill perfectly, and was built up by local bike guru Darren Kiley at PushPedal. To top it off, the subtle dark metallic grey and bright yellow colour scheme really appeals to me. I currently run it with 28mm tyres, but can go up to about 38mm (Photo shows it with 35mm Sammy Slicks). Tempted to try snow and ice tyres on it when the time comes!
And then up until a week ago, I had these two as well:
Singlespeed, Guvnor Style
Its been two guises before this, as my first road bike, a Charge Plug inspired singlespeed, and now as a ‘Pashley Guvnor’ style ride. It kind of worked, but not well enough. The racing frame didn’t really sit well with the inverted North Road Handlebars, as it doesn’t have the correct ‘slack’ geometry of the Guvnor.
Canyon Ultimate AL
Before my Colnago was the Canyon, a brand new frameset that I had built up with parts from my then-current bike, a Specialized Allez. It was fantastic bike, lightweight and stiff but with some comfort too. I had intended to sell it when a got the Colnago, but couldn’t get a decent price for it, and decided it was worth more to me to keep.
These two are no more however, as I finally found a buyer the Canyon, and I’ve disassembled the singlespeed to sell for parts, all to make room for the latest addition…
Handmade in Stratford-Upon-Avon as a homage to the ‘Path Racers’ of the 1930’s. Bought second-hand via a well timed advert in Gumtree, but in fantastic condition. As I may have mentioned a few times, I’ve been hankering after one of these for ages, and selling the Canyon made it possible.
The ride is an absolute joy, and yes, hills are a bit more work than usual. Its not as heavy as I’d remembered it though, and I can lift it up the stairs at the office easily without inducing a hernia. I’m looking forward to riding it further afield than the commute to my office, and hopefully joining the Guvnors Assembly on one of their jollies! The problem with a bike like this is that none of my existing gear and accessories (Helmet, Clothes, Water Bottles, Lights etc) suits such a gorgeous machine!
So I’m now back down to a more manageable three, at least until I the next one…
When I first got into cycling back in 2010, I blogged about how the Pashley Guvnor ‘epitomised everything I wanted aesthetically in a bicycle’. At the time, I wasn’t interested in modern bikes and wanted something with vintage feel. The Guvnor stood out amongst a sea of gaudy and overdone colour schemes on one side, and twee retro on the other.
I didn’t want to spend too much on a bike though, in case it became another one of my ‘temporary hobbies’. The Guvnor felt too expensive at the time, so I went for the Globe Daily at half the price. However, over the last two years I’ve gone from Globe Daily, Steel Peugeot (off ebay, which became my singlespeed), Specialized Allez, Canyon Ultimate AL and Colnago CLX 3 (the last two are my current steeds). My eyes were quickly to the beauty of modern bikes with companies like Canyon that make bikes with restraint in the graphics, and a high quality of finishing to boot. I really appreciate my carbon Colnago when it comes to hills.
Even so, I can’t get the Guvnor out of my head almost three years later. This probably isn’t helped by the fact I’ve been following the weekend jollies held by The Guvnors Assembly. I’ve always had a niggling thought in the back of my head (particularly in autumn strangely) – “Yes it’s heavy, but what is it actually like to ride?”.
So, when the family went to Stratford-upon-Avon last weekend, I couldn’t help but pop along to the Traditional Cycle Shop for a wee test ride! Yes, it was as heavy as a battleship (but probably not as heavy as other Pashley models like the Roadster), but my first feeling on mounting it was one of comfort. The Brooks B17 saddle was a revelation – I could really feel the ‘hammock’ effect. The swept-back hand position was odd for the first second or so (maybe as I was expecting the bars to be flatter), but this went quickly, and I realised it was a similar to my normal hand position on my road bikes.
When I rode it, it was like being on an elegant steamroller. It took very slightly longer than my road bike to get it up to speed, but once it was going, it just seemed to cruise over rough ground with ease. Very comfortable and an utter joy to ride. The only time the weight will be an issue is when I carry my bike up and down the stairs to my office (only twice a day every week – hey ho!).
Despite that practical consideration I just want one more now that I’ve tried it. I want to put on my tweed flat cap and take an autumnal ride through the streets of Oxford where the low sun makes the old colleges look golden. Ahhhh, bliss.
In the meantime, I’m going to go back and alter my singlespeed project to adopt some the Guvnor aesthetic. It won’t have the correct slack Path Racer geometry, but it will tide me over until I can get one. Which is going to be difficult, because I’m also hankering after a cyclocross bike, but that’s another story…