Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A tale of two rides!

Hey guys hope you are all well and these colder darker nights aren’t getting you down too much!
Todays post is all about bikes and year round riding and how best to stay on two wheels regardless of the weather outside!
I am one of the lucky souls who recently managed to recently get a second bike that is more suitable for winter riding and taking a bit more of a beating in these harsher conditions but more about that later!
Firstly Im going to start of talking about my summer machine and basically my sports car of a bike that I use during the drier warmer months to get the miles in around the awesome English countryside. It is a Cannondale Synapse with an Alloy frame and is basically my pride and joy. I bought this bike as my previous bike was stolen from my place of work on November 2014 and to say I was not impressed was an understatement. However it allowed me the chance to purchase a new ride and after many weeks of thinking about what kind of level of rider I am and what I actually need, I settled on the Synapse. Now if you are aware of the road cycling scene you would amaze me if you have not heard about the Synapse in the last few years, from winning bike of the year and receiving great reviews all round. My model is an older one but still is a fantastic ride. Its carried me through my first cycle sportive in Rutland where I foolishly thought that there wouldn’t be any hills, how wrong was I, and then again through a rolling Suffolk Spinner course with a friend on his first sportive. The bike hasn’t faulted me at all and truly is a pleasure to ride. I have added a few upgrades gearing wise but I won’t bore you with that kind of stuff on this post! All round you can see why this bike predecessors have gone onto win such awards worldwide and has converted me into a huge fan of the Cannondale brand.
Right then for those of you reading from UK shores, you’ll know that having a good weather bike is somewhat limiting with our weather system, and as nice as it is getting to ride the summer bike for all 4 days of summer we get, the majority of the time the UK is wetter than an otters pocket. So as such riders in the UK either retreat to a turbo trainer to sweat out the colder months or they man up and get out there. I had the whole turbo trainer system set up in my shed as you can see from my pictures, it’s otherwise known as the pain chamber and regardless of surround sound and TV set up. It still has nowhere near the thrills that actually being out and about on a bike gives you. This is where my new ride comes into play.

I am lucky enough to work for a service that provides its employees with the Cycle2Work Scheme. For those of you not aware of what this is, its basically a scheme to offer employees the chance to purchase a bike and safety equipment at a price cheaper than usual that is then repaid over 12 months from the employees pay cheque. If you want to read more about this ill pop the link in below.
Anyway back to my new toy! I wanted something that still offered me the chance to put down some speed when I wanted but yet was versatile enough to be able to take the harsh winter weather, was comfortable enough for a day to day use and also tow a trailer for my summer adventures with the hound. Again the research commenced, many hours of reading through reviews but yet once again, Cannondale had got me. I opted for a CAADX which has the appearance of a road bike but it actually can be taken more off the beaten track and used on grass/gravel tracks with no problem. This is an area on the cycle scene that has been there for some years but recently has really picked up steam and has gained a huge following. Again ill post the link below for those of you who want to read more about the Cyclocross world!
So I settled for the CAADX, the reviews were awesome, it ticked all the boxes for what I would use it for and my favourite local bike shop could get one in for me! Result! I was that confident in Cannondale and the reviews I had read that I actually bought the bike without physically seeing or riding one and after its first ride out, I was not disappointed. I took it down every wet muddy track I could find, puddles, ditches the full works, I really put it through its paces and came out at the end of a muddy 20 mile ride grinning ear to ear. Off road test, passed.
Like I said the CAADX was bought also as a commuter to get me to work so that was its next test. I have a near 40 mile round trip to get to work through flat open roads and back river tracks and once again the bike performed like a beast! Even with wider than what I’m used to tyres on the road, the bike still has plenty of speed when you put the hammer down and it handles amazingly with the disc brakes doing their job amazingly well even in the wet weather.
I could write another few hours worth of how to ride all year round and really go into detail about kit and tech but for now I shall just leave you with the bikes that do the job for me to keep me out on the road.
Hopefully this will give you an insight into the biking part of my life and future posts will show you more and more about this crazy world of lycra that I take part in ha ha!
Keep an eye out for an upcoming post on my local bike store and the awesome stuff they make including the above two beautys! Always keep an eye out for the gorilla!

I hope this inspires some of you to get out on two wheels, feel free to let me know what adventures you get up too on a bike!

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