Purchasing a bicycle is something special. A bike is a rather personal object.
First, there is the make/builder as well as the colour and style. Will it be a road/racing bicycle or a mountain bike? Some prefer to go for a touring bicycle depending on the ambition and type of cycling.
Whatever you decide to go for, you want it to be the right thing with the right feel.
Even when it comes to get a fixed gear (probably the simpliest of all because no derailleur and the eventual front brake), the rides have to be comfortable whether it is for an urban commute or a longer ride.
Once the model is established, it is about “the bits“. Whatever style you decide to go for it can become complicated and exciting at the same time.
Imagine that you have this nice looking thing giving you the opportunity to go wherever you want, whenever you wish! But some details aren’t exactly matching your personality or a different saddle would be better for your well being and posture or just a louder bell?!
All can be adjusted and/or changed. There is no real limit. Buy a cheap(er) bicycle and amend whatever is not right without forgetting the essential accessories such as decent helmet, visibility jacket, gloves, front & back lights for a start.
According to your budget, flexibility can be possible.
Of course, some people are more cyclists than riders. What is the difference?
- A cyclist is generally a person with all the equipment – mainly the lycra thing and everything is matching: brand and colours. All this can be (very) pricey.
- A rider is more a person who likes to ride not caring too much whether he/she looks cool/trendy as long as there is a fun side.
Let’s be clear here, cyclists and riders aren’t enemies. It is just a different “breed“. We could compare this with joggers and runners…maybe?
Anyway, it is clear to identify.
The other association with cyclists is the coffee pit stop.
Rapha has created coffee cups and even a limited edition espresso machine because “apparently” cyclists like such drink… or do they actually drink it to give them a boost?
Here is an article giving some explanations. All this is not that new.
…The legendary Eddy Merckx rode for Faema for his first dominant Tour de France victory in 1968. Faema is an acronym for Fabbrica Apparecchiature Elettromeccaniche e Affini but Belgian cycling fans said it stood for Faites Attention, Eddy Merckx Arrive (Look out, Eddy Merckx is coming)…
A good hit of caffeine will certainly help to get that kick for a few extra miles and the independent artisan coffee roaster is able to make the green beans appealing to the right crowd. Coffee is (initially) a fruit and then it becomes a science. Alternatively, you can opt for protein drinks.
When taking the road/cyclepath for a few miles (whatever the distance and itinerary) it is important to be happy with the steed and all details about it. An aluminium/steel/carbon frame won’t give you the same results: it is all about the rigidity and/or shocks’ absorption without forgetting the weight which can play a major role if racing.
Overall, what counts is to obtain what you are after. Quality is what everyone wants and the actual difference between bikes and ways of riding can be seen as irrelevant, but it isn’t.
When cycling, everything is important.
I met with Tom a keen cyclist. He is a real one. Great Trek bikes with all the trimmings.
I always like to question the choice of ride, clothing and destination. This is what he had to say:
Cycling is great. Commuting by bike I can get into the office each morning feeling fresh and wide-awake – before I’ve even had a coffee! I love starting the day by getting some fresh air in and enjoying the sights and sounds around me; it’s really refreshing. Then at the weekends I cycle down to the shops or visit a café, I love how I can catch up with my mates at the same time as getting some exercise in.
The greatest thing about cycling nowadays is that cycling fashion has moved away from all that shiny, tight-fitting lycra. I can wear stylish clothing which doesn’t scream ‘lycra-lout’ but still fits well and performs on the bike. I can go to a meeting or to the pub on my bike and not look ridiculous when I’m not on the bike, which opens up a whole new wardrobe of functional clothing that looks good.
My current favourites are from a British brand called Vulpine (meaning ‘foxy’ or fox-like). They have exceedingly high standards and a tailoring background so you know their products are going to look and feel great. Their Merino Henley top and summer shorts are my go-to wardrobe items whenever I want to throw a leg over my bike.
The Henley short-sleeved top looks like any normal top (although more stylish!) but has the added benefit of being designed with cycling in mind. It’s cut slightly longer at the back to make sure your love handles don’t poke out when you lean forward on the bike! And it’s made from natural merino wool which doesn’t smell even if you get a bit of a sweat on during the commute – I often go straight into the boardroom after getting off the bike – no need for a costume change.
The shorts are also designed for cyclists as they come up quite high on your back, again to make up for when you stretch forward in a riding position. The fabric is slightly stretchy which makes cycling comfortable and means I can move my legs easily. They’re also lightweight so they’re a great clothing choice for a hot day in the office or a sunny weekend ride.
Both of these clothing items are stylish and refined whilst also having all the right technical properties to make them perform just as well on the bike as off.
Now that I’ve been doing more and more cycling, I’m planning on a Spanish cycling holiday to the Costa del Sol. I’ll be flying out in a couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to enjoying the sun and also riding my bike along the epic scenery from that part of Spain. Costa Cycling Experience (the company I’m going with) take you on rides right into the heart of the mountains so I’m looking forward to testing my legs on some climbs as well as enjoying the beaches and pools. The girlfriend is looking forward to the spa and I’ve also got my eye on the golf courses but I’m keen to ride up some serious mountains and earn my paella!
There is not a lot to say/add about the beauty of riding a fixed gear.
It is only by trying such bicycle that you will understand what is great about it.