On Saturday, having been encouraged by Rachel (my boss) Jane went on a Sky Breeze ride and loved it. She did 22 miles which included a visit to Thrussington tea shop.
As expected Jane was the only person on a bike equipped any of the following:
- skirt guard
- step thru frame
- hub gears
- chain guard
By equipped with “some” of these I mean of course Jane had them all
The others were clearly highly trained motivators and so Jane came back convinced that she could ride a road bike, that she would be a lot faster and more comfortable on a road bike and therefore that she should get one.
This was not an opportunity to be wasted!
So on Saturday afternoon we went over to both Rutland Cycling stores who had impressive ranges of road bikes for women (mostly Trek, Specialized and Giant).
Jane tested a couple and came away in love with the fully carbon Specialized Ruby (despite only having ridden one that was a size too small).
That left me with the kill joy task of pointing out that she would probably enjoy the bike a lot more if she could have mudguards and carry a few things neither of which are very practical on the full carbon frames.
Anyway today we went on another bike shop visit. This time we went to the Specialized Concept store at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham where Jane was able to test ride a 54cm Dolce. She liked it a lot.
We then had a little distraction when I suggested she might consider a Specialized Tricross to benefit from bigger tyres, easier mudguard and rack fitting, and disc brakes. If the handlebars were swapped for the narrower women’s ones from the Dolce then most of the dimensions were very similar. In the end two things meant that we dropped the idea of the Tricross. The first was that the standover height was nearly 2cm more which Jane felt was intimidating. Secondly the colour scheme was deemed boring.
So in the end we have ordered a very “pretty” 54cm Dolce Elite Equipped which Jane can collect on Monday next week.
A couple of thoughts on the choice.
I was keen that if Jane was to have a road bike then it should be a good one and there not be any suggestion that she got fobbed off with the cheap option. So this is about the top specification for a women’s road bike with rack mounting points and clearance for full length mudguards.
Secondly, this has Tiagra brake/gear levers. The next specification up from Shimano is 105 and Jane found that the much larger hoods on these were too big for her hands to feel comfortable. So certainly for Jane Tiagra is as far up the Shimano product line as is comfortable. I have heard of a number of people unhappy with Sora (the next level down) and have personally been happy with Tiagra on my Trek for the last 7 years or so.
Thirdly, colour is tricky It can’t be too girly (pink bar tape would have been too much) but at the same time it does have to look pretty. Specialized seem to have got it about right for Jane.
With a few days in Derbyshire at half term and a summer holiday in the Netherlands plus assorted Breeze rides and maybe even some with me it should get used a fair bit this summer.
Oh and no she won’t be getting rid of the other bike This one is not suitable for riding when wearing a dress or skirt, nor is it as convenient for local shopping. The basket is still too convenient for handbags, bottles of wine, egg cartons etc etc. Plus all those heavy extras make the current bike ideal in horrible weather and on poor quality cycle routes especially when wearing normal clothes.