Right Tool For The Job

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It’s Snowing. Everywhere  worms are drowning underground because of compacted snow above them. Old people’s hips shatter spontaneously on contact with biting air. People are angry about the snow. The gritters. The government. The heating bills. The old people’s hips. Thatcher… (actually that’s just me isn’t it?). You get the idea.

Snow is bad!

Myself? I’m mildly p*ssed off that the gritters have been efficient and I haven’t been snowed in so I’ve had to make it in to the office. But that’s about it. I’m car-less at the moment as well, so after public transport fail on Tuesday (giving the bus driver the finger as he drove past didn’t make him stop folks) I rode in yesterday.

I rode in on my lovely Cannondale road bike. Flat-black carbon. Shiny aluminum. A William Gibson imagined Sci-Fi dream made true.

The bike was of course faultless. It felt a bit more sluggish than usual, but the four layers of clothing and huge backpack may have had more to do with that than my belief that the oil had got thicker in the cold and was making the wheels drag.

So a cold, but lovely, ride (once my face had de-thawed and I’d finished expleting at my toes as they came back to life). Kind of life-affirming; made hot drinks hotter, bacon taste tastier, made my smugness… smuggier.

All of this of course had to be dampened by my deeply troubled inner bike nerd.

“That Cannondale would be ruined if you rode it in conditions like that regularly”

“The gears could have frozen”

“What’s the safe working temperature of carbon anyway?”

Blah blah blah… What I need obviously for the six days a year when the temperature drops is this…

Now in the real world I would never buy a bike with a hub gearbox – I hate them. I’ve made value judgments on people just based on them owning a hub gearbox. Don’t get me wrong, the Alfine is one of the best of them out there and a lot more affordable than some others. But give me a mech and cassette please – light, simple, functional. And doesn’t have the mass of Jupiter rotating somewhere behind you.

But in the harshness off winter it’s not enough is it? The grit will kill the drivetrain, I need the durability of the Alfine! Not only that, I need a steel frame; it’s repairable by hand with a welder in case… in case I’m three miles from home..?

It carried on like that. Racks (hate), mudguards (hate more), panniers (grRRRRRR!!!).  All of them needed now. Maybe a foldable shovel mounted somewhere… a pair of pogies perhaps?

Weird isn’t it? That Genesis is a lovely bike and for a commuter that does loads of miles in all weathers it’s perfect; it’s what he/she they need. Me? 20 mile round trip (ish) which isn’t possible everyday due to various complications (not being organised if we we’re honest). It would be doing that lovely workhorse a disservice. Shaming real people that do use them. The ones in the high-viz jackets and wellies pedaling every day, come what may. I want one but I do not need one

Me? A touch of cold weather and I turn into pseudo-outdoor-hero. A brief commute turns me in to cycling’s Bear Grylls. Unlike him I want to take the kitchen sink and the shower.

So I’m going to stick with the lovely Cannondale and four layers of clothes. Kid myself that I’m dead-hard and get on with it.

Hang on…

This is what I need!

p.s. If you are interested in the lovely Day One and almost certainly deserve one more than me (they do it singlespeed as well for other gear-hub phobics) have a look on genesisbikes.

Comments (6)

    luvly mathew

    …harshness *of* winter…
    – who’s the sub editor?

    this is a great post though – sort of thing you guys should write more often

    Bear would stay in the hotel.

    yep, another brill article, thanks 🙂

    my commuter is just as you describe; alfine, discs, rack and full guards but based on a Cotic Roadrat.

    Mudguards in snow are an issue, other than that (and the weight) it’s a great commuting option. I ignore it most of the time, giving the chain some oil once every couple of months and tightening the cables every so often. Low maintenence year round is where it’s at. Keep the cannondale for enjoying yourself!

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