A fit of pique has seen me permanently change the Holdsworth’s arguably gorgeous Nitto cockpit for these ultra stiff flat section aero bars and shorter Outland stem. Dun might not be the most exciting of finishes but blends nicely with the blue, black & pink livery. More importantly, being proportionately short in the torso demands a correspondingly shorter reach and the oversized bars are just the icing on the cake. Flamingo pink wrap might not be the manliest of colours but mirrors that of some high end Peugeot race bikes from twenty years ago. Bought cheaply as a job lot some years back, we’ve developed fierce attachment over the past six months.
Steering myself toward more masculine tone and away from the admiring compliments on my colour scheme from passing female brethren, we had a computer calamity. Swooping into the bends, our serene silence was rudely interrupted by the tinkling sound of the fork sensor jettisoning from its bracket and into the undergrowth. Dash and Bother! (Well vernacular to that effect). Upon my return, convinced lateral thinking, much rummaging in the tool box and spares bin would a compatible replacement, I unearthed a long since redundant Cat-Eye unit.
Positioned carefully, running a hairs breadth from the spoke magnet, I spun the front wheel but to no avail, the Echo well head unit gazing back at me with a big fat zero. Undeterred, I slipped the Univega’s Knog sensor off and around the Holdsworth’s carbon fork leg, convinced the thick medical grade silicone would hamper communication. To my delight, this rewarded with low-level bleeping and the most consistent and reliable readings of any wireless unit-at least those tested by me in the past twenty years. The virtues of patience and careful experimentation often reap great and unexpected reward.
Elsewhere, wet greasy conditions have seen swift return to the Univega and the joys of full length, wide section mudguards. Sundays outing saw another one of those serendipitous encounters I was rejoicing in last week- this time two men, father and son, the latter riding a very contemporary dual suspension Marin.
However, it was the father’s largely original, un-restored but well kempt Ridgeback that captured my imagination. Post Box red Cro-moly tubeset, it sported old school cross cantilevers, full length MTB guards with galvanised stays just showing the tell-tale whispers of white oxidisation around the eyelets. Drawing alongside, I noticed his very nicely homemade chain ring bash guard and so began our conversation
He was a man who clearly loved his cycling but without any particular tribal allegiance and while not as sharp and contemporary as say Kona framesets from the same era, the Ridgeback didn’t look terribly dated. Sporting 1.75 wide tyres it was clearly an mtb of the early British tradition-a nimble green lane and bridle path beast, yet no slouch on winter asphalt ravaged by the recent pot-hole epidemic.
We rode a good eight or so miles together, his son following close behind as we climbed the hills, chatted about grass roots cycle and motorcycle racing and life in general. I wanted a shot of said machine- had my prosumer camera tucked away in the Univega’s pannier but the appropriate moment to make such a request never quite presented itself….Maybe some other road, some other ride…
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)