In my search for a Bike for Life the central factor was a bike I can use for everyday transport. That means riding in normal clothes, in all weathers, with a wide variety of loads and a wide range of distances. There will be many journeys shorter than 5 miles and generally at least one each week of 20 miles or so.
Using a bike for everyday transport requires reliability and little maintenance, otherwise it is not available when you need it.
All these things fed into the specification which led to:
- Hydraulic Disk Brakes (all weather, long life, reliability)
- Dynamo lights for reliable lighting that is always available
- Rohloff Hub gears (reliability)
- Belt Drive (less maintenance and also clean for normal clothes)
- Versatile racks to carry a variety of stuff
- Large tyres for puncture resistance despite poor surfaces
- full mudguards (fenders) to keep me as dry as possible
After collecting the bike on Friday I am pleased to say that it is already meeting these needs. I have ridden more than 10 miles each day and all but 6 have been as normal transportation. They have included riding in the dark, riding when it is raining, when it is frosty, unloaded and with a full pannier.
Nothing dramatic yet, but then that is what I wanted
The comfort is there from the first ride, really liking the Jones Loop H-Bar handlebars along with cork Ergon grips. Of course my well worn in Brooks B17 Select saddle has been moved onto this bike so I knew that would be comfortable. It is interesting that the handlebar and grips attract more comments than anything else, presumably because they are so visible.
It took a while to figure out how to fit it but I have now sorted the Velo Orange Campagne Handlebar Bag with the Randonneur Front Rack with Integrated Decaleur. The result is very convenient for bits and pieces (jacket, phone, wallet, tablet, notebook etc). The way I have done it is to remove the handlebar straps from the bag and bolt the decaleur to the back of the bag. All you need to do is thread the bag under the handlebar and hook on the decaleur and you are ready to go. With the Plug USB charger on the step I can charge up any device kept in the bag while on the move. Very useful as my Galaxy Tab battery seems to be dying at the moment.
I am loving the belt drive already. I have been wearing ordinary trousers and not tucking them into anything and no problems at all. It is absolutely silent and smooth.
For security I am carrying my new and pretty weighty (2.06kg) Krptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini around. It fits on the Randonneur front rack under the handlebar bag. Currently I am using a bungee to hold it in place but plan to create a pouch for it that will sit permanently on the rack. The critical components are all secured to the bike using Atomic22 Infiniti3D security (another innovative British made product). The infinity3d security comes with a beautiful ratchet handle used with the keys that can also be used with standard screwdriver and allen key bits.
That’s all for now as I am about to use the bike for a hospital visit and some other errands