Strava Rapha Festive 500 Challenge Summary

So it is two days after the end of what become a bit of a rush to finish the 2012 Festive 500 Challenge. That meant 500km between the start of Christmas Eve and the end of New Years Eve.

This made a good end to the year and I manipulated things so that completing the challenge would also mean meeting my target of 5,500 miles for the year.

Nearly the whole distance was on my Shand Cycles Stoater, my Bike for Life and I’ll summarise how that felt in a moment. First here are the posts I have already written about the challenge:

So this included the longest ride on my Stoater since getting it in mid November, 75.7 miles (in  two parts with dinner at home with the family in between).

The Stoater has performed perfectly throughout the period. The only maintenance was that a bolt on the front rack and another on the rear rack shook loose. In both cases I took the wheel off to make sure that all the other bolts were tight. The front wheel I did in the hotel one night, the rear one at a lunch stop in Cannock Chase. Fortunately, the belt drive meant that taking the wheel off was not a dirty/oily task even though it was weeks since the only time the bike has been washed since new.

The only other “jobs” don’t really count as maintenance (I changed the angle of my Brooks saddle which stopped me sliding towards the front, I swapped the batteries on my Cateye extra rear light for fully charged ones and I cleaned the lens of my front Schmidt eDelux light).

So the Stoater had:

These are exactly the sort of features I was planning for when choosing my Bike for Life. What is more there are no outstanding jobs needing doing after the ride finished. So yesterday I jumped on with no preparation to go out to friends for a meal in smartish clothes.  Today, I rode nearly 7 miles into Leicester in normal clothes.

I do feel a bit guilty about not caring for my beautiful bike enough and so will be looking to make some time in the next few days to give it a nice clean. But that is only so Stephen Shand will still talk to me and not be ashamed of his customers 🙂

I was probably one of the slowest riders in the Festive 500km but I am sure I was also one of the most comfortable and one of the few to include rides in a suit.

I am now confident that I will be able to do 100 mile day rides easily on this Bike. The challenge is simply making enough time for them.

One of the highlights is that at the end of these rides with no cleaning of the drive train it is still running as silently and smoothly as my fixie does when it has just been cleaned and serviced (that is in gears 8 to 14 anyway as 1 to 7 are still being run in).

Another highlight are the brakes. The Hope Tech Evo V4 hydraulic disc brakes are wonderful, they look beautiful (I have the special edition with green highlights) and they just work unobtrusively. Totally confidence inspiring and a delight to use.

I am really pleased with the Finished Stoater Handlebars they have proved very comfortable, I am able to ride for miles in the more aerodynamic positions which I think are similar in performance to being on the hoods of my Trek Road Bike (and I never used the drops for very far at all).

As I mentioned the Shwalbe Marathons have also been a good upgrade. Not only no punctures but no need to pump them up and great combination of speed and comfort.

For these rides I was mostly using my Caradice Carradry front panniers on the rear rack, they are ideal for day rides when you want to carry a few clothes etc.

So I have now ridden some 750 miles on this bike. Are there any bits I would change?

  • The VO Mudguards have taken a bit of fettling to get right but now seem to be pretty good and staying reliably in place. So for the moment I have a provisional good opinion.
  • The Carradice Carradry panniers are fully waterproof and pretty convenient to use (the rack clips are still quite stiff but very secure). One rear pannier has had to be returned after the failure of 3 of the 4 rivets holding on the fixing rail. Slightly more fiddly to use than Ortlieb and lighter material but a lot cheaper. Summary: ok
  • Continental Tyres, don’t bother get Schwalbe Marathons.

No other changes or complaints!

So loving the bike and happy that the Festive 500 helped me achieve my target for 2012.

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