Monday, 15 October 2012


Due to some bad planning on my part I yesterday (Sunday 14th Oct) took part in the Dorking Original Sportive on my Surly Cross Check 10 speed commuter/touring bike. Yes I stripped off the kickstand and rack, and swapped over the saddle and seatpost to reduce weight, but it still tipped the scales at over 12 Kgs.

My wife, however, had no such problem with her trusty Giant Avail and cheerfully slipped past me on some of the steeper hills. Happily, neither of us had to get off and push, unlike quite a few of our fellow competitors participants.

I had ordered my Canyon Ultimate AL 9.0 Di2 on the 13th September hoping for it to arrive in time for yesterday's race event, but at time of writing, I'm told I have to wait another week and a half. I'm not complaining, however, as I (by chance) bought the bike in Canyon's end of season sale for £1680.00. I've just noticed the new 2013 price is £2039.00 - so that's an unusual stroke of luck.

And to be honest the increased anticipation is going to make its arrival all the more exciting, as well as more appreciated. As I slogged up and down hills for thirty one and a half miles yesterday I was dreaming of how the Canyon might handle the ride, compared to my very solid (and much loved, I have to say) Surly. 

Buying a new bike is a marvellous thing, so drawing out the whole process is actually rather a good idea. I can enjoy picturing myself 'literally' flying up the hills and taking on the serious roadies at Richmond Park for another couple of weeks. Once the bike has arrived no doubt my illusions will be shattered again. But at least I 'll be able to compare my times around the park with those achieved on the Ribble Sportive Bianco (my old road bike, just sold), although I'll need to get a bit fitter before doing that. My friends in the London Cycle Workshop are certain the Canyon should be a more zippy ride and I'm looking forward to being able to shift across the chainrings without the chain falling off (see a previous post!)

The lovely Koga-Miyata is still in the workshop awaiting new tyres, but being a 1977 Gents Tourer (GT) it isn't really designed for sportives either and, although it also has 10 gears, its vintage Shimano 600 gear ratio isn't nearly as wide as that of the Surly's modern 10 speed Tiagra, despite only having a single 42 tooth chainring. The Koga is a double (two chainrings) but they seem to be oddly similar in size. I'll count them when I get possession of the bike but they looked like 54/50 or something crazy. 

TOP TIP: One thing I can confirm however, is that you'll get a much better work-out riding a Sportive on a heavy hybrid than you will on your lightweight road bike. I felt like I'd ridden 50 miles rather than 31! [Update: Stiffness appeared in my glutes on Wednesday. 1st time I've had stiff legs after a ride. Didn't stretch though. Actually, not sure how to stretch come to think of it.]

This was my wife's first Sportive. Although she enjoys a bike ride she doesn't quite share my enthusiasm for everything cycling. Whereas I read Cycling Plus, Cycling Active, Cycling Weekly, Pro Cycling and Cycle Sport she reads Gardeners World (and a host of thrillers, most of which, rather worryingly, seem to be about women bumping off their husbands and getting away with it).

At the end of the ride Chris Boardman presented us with our rather fine medals and we had a bit of a chit-chat about brakes. Lucy's toying with the idea of getting a flat-bar road bike because she struggles with reaching the brakes, which means she's very careful (slow!) going downhill. Chris said his wife is the same, and recommended getting a hybrid with hydraulic disc brakes - rather charmingly he never mentioned Boardman bikes. 

 Clearly Lucy had no idea who she was talking to because when I said "she could get one of yours Chris" she piped up with "Jim's buying a Canyon". He actually looked rather hurt, but despite that he was still happy to pose for a photo. 
Cheers Lu. Apparently she thought he was 'some bloke who owned a bike shop'. 


  1. I did the Dorking Sportive on Sunday, choosing the 30 mile route and riding it on my hybrid. It's my only bike, so far... ;) It's not a nice set of road wheels/tyres but still weighs in well over 12kgs.

    Damn freezing at the start line waiting to be released and that steep incline within the first mile had a lot of roadies walking! I felt quite smug spinning away upwards in my 28/30 bottom gear, haha! Box Hill was a real treat too! I didn't see Chris though, shame.

  2. 'It's not a nice set of road wheels'... I think you meant 'It's got a nice set of road wheels'?
    What make of bike were you riding?
    Yes I was surprised how many people were getting off and pushing, but I guess if you're new to cycling (and there are plenty of new recruits out there these days) the hills can seem quite fierce.

  3. I was riding my Specialized Sirrus. Yes I meant it's got a NICE set of road wheels, haha! Fulcrum Racing 5's. The difference between those and the standard wheels is incredible. Actually the wheels/tyres are probably worth more than the rest of the bike...