Sunday, 24 June 2012

2012 Target update...

 With 2 months out from the blogging arena, I simply can't get enough, I'm sat here wondering what I should write then I remembered I set myself some goals for 2012, let's see how close I've come to achieving them.

 Ok so my first goal was to continue commuting on my bike which I am doing and I've added a new bike to my stable so my commuting is getting faster and I'm consistently hitting PB's on my Strava segments (fear not, I won't sue).

 My second goal was to ride a 100 mile sportive. Now this I haven't actually done but I will, It's just about the timing and my unwillingness to drive any real distance to a start line. I also have a issue with paying too much for the privilage. I spent £23 to ride the 84 miles of the Meon Valley Riser and was provided with breakfast/feed stations and lunch which was a bargain. Action Medical Research are running the Guildford 100 in September which sounds perfect as its 100 miles and Guildford is round the corner, I'd even consider cycling there its £28 entry fee and a min sponsorship is £30 so a resonable price.

 The route includes the Box Hill zig zag climb of the Olympic route, barely a gradient but a beautiful spot. There are many better climbs covering the Surrey Hills and the South Downs which will hopefully be included.

 The other alternative to Sportive fee's is joining a Cycling Club. I've been thinking about this for a while and it is something I really want to do. It's a small yearly fee and the club run's are weekly and cover a good distance, I may even get discounted prices for entering events! I just need to get up earlier enough on a Sunday morning to ride to a local meeting point to join the ride, thats the difficult part...

 God damn, I need to step my goals up...

Friday, 22 June 2012

Evans Six week check up

If I'm honest I've never been a big fan of Evans. They sell decent enough products but the staff in the stores are beyond shit. This is just my expereience, I've only had the pleasure of using the Kingston, Guildford and Woking stores. I don't use Evans by choice, its out of necessity due to my companies cycle to work scheme being exclusively Evans.

  I remeber vividly my first trip to the Kingston store when looking to buy my first Cyclocross bike, the idiot I happened to be lumbered with was only interested in selling me a mountain bike at the very roof of my price range because 'that's what I'd buy mate',twat. He was unable to answer any of the questions I asked, least of all the bike related one's. The moment that really stood out was him commenting on my new road shoes that I just happened to be trying on in his store, 'they're nice mate, where did you get those from?', oddly this was a genuine question.

 Anyway, it is what it is, I use them because I have to. So I bought my new bike early May deciding it would be easier to have the bike delivered to my home address from the Evans warehouse. The last time I bought a bike from the store they just pulled it off the shope floor and handed it to me, which I guess you may not have a problem with but any bike on the shop floor can be test ridden by anyone, if I'm spending 1k on a bike I want to be the first one riding it thanks very much!

 Around comes the time for the 6 week check up, I get an email telling me so. I realise gear/brake cables stretch and require adjustment within the first month or so to keep the bike running smoothly. Nice touch Evans. Perhaps I'm expecting too much. This bike has an RRP of £1049 and so for me is the most I'll ever spend on a push bike and I want it treated like a virgin on prom night, this girl is special. I'm clearly the only one with this mindset, at least that's how I'm made to feel. Nothing like the personal touch, right?

 I realise it's not a big job, a little cable tensioning and prehaps a little gear adjustment, job done. Would a little clean really kill them? A little passion for the trade? A little care for your pride and joy? Wouldn't hurt would it.....My bike came back dirtier than it went, if you're gonna touch it with greasy hands at least then have the decency to clean it. I'm not asking for the world, a once over with a baby wipe would do, it's the little touches that make you think they care. 24 hours they had the bike and they literally did the very minimum. Ok it's free but show me that you care?!?!

Like I said, prehaps I'm expecting too much....

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A new arrival

What a difference a new bike makes. In my case about 2kilograms. Wow.

Took me an age to decide which bike I wanted to spend my hard earned on and even longer to convince the wife a second bike was exactly what I needed. 'what if the frame cracks', 'what if the chain snaps', these and many others were used in my reasoning. Truth is, I just wanted a new and faster bike. I was fairly keen on keeping below the £1000 Ride2Work Voucher limit as I simply couldn't justify spending any more, it is only a bike after all, at the same time I wanted the best bike I could buy for the money as this will be my last for quite some time.

I spent a fair few months scouting the Evans (My company's voucher scheme is with Evans) website for something that would suit my needs. I already have a Cyclocross bike which is fairly heavy and built to take on anything, this time I wanted a full on road bike, something fast which would only come out in fair weather. For quite some time the bikes availble to me just didn't shout at me, nothing really caught my eye and nothing I was willing to spend 1k on.

Then Evans decided to have a 10% sale on all 2012 bikes, so my search got serious. I read many reviews in many magazine's and cutting a very long story short, I settled on this. Ok so it's £49 more than I wanted to spend but with 10% off, it bought the bike down to £944 (Bargain). There is just no point trying to buy full carbon at this price point as the Aluminium bikes are as light with better components.

Here is the Cannondale link on the bike and I genuinely believe I have one of the best and most eye catching bikes available. Well I'm gonna say that aren't I......

I'm now lucky enough to have a winter bike and a summer bike, bring on the sunshine :)