Tour de Farce

Another suspected doping scandal is doing it’s best to ruin the reputation of professional cycling. Following on from the release of names of people implicated in the "Operacion Puerto" investigation, several of the pre-race favourites will not be taking part in this years Tour de France. Jan Ullrich was suspended by his team at the request of their main sponsor, and Ivan Basso has since been excluded by the tour organisers. No doubt many more names will follow.

First Proper Ride

I took the Ribble out tonight for it’s first proper ride. Whilst waiting for the others at the LBS I took the opportunity to pinch a new saddle off the shop wall and fit that, it still needs tweaking slightly though. Once out on the road it became clear that the gears still need fettling, and the front mech cable managed to detach itself part way round necessitating five minutes attention with an allen key. Ignoring those minor niggles it’s actually quite nice to ride. Compared with the Lemond it tends to barge its way through things rather than float over the top of them, but then it’s a couple of lbs heavier and about £1500 cheaper. It’s nice and steady and surefooted, almost perfect for the 40mph descent back into town (in a 30mph limit naturally).

At some point soon it needs a new rear mech, and possibly some different bars, other than that it’s perfect for it’s intended job.

Uncomfortable

After spending several months riding road bikes equipped with Campagnolo Ergo levers, or Campag-alike Cane Creek brake levers, I now find Shimano STI levers to be horribly uncomfortable. They are far too bulky, and completely the wrong shape. Unfortunately it’d cost me too much to convert my two Shimano equipped road bikes to Campagnolo. If anyone has a pile of Campagnolo Ergo levers, rear hubs, cassettes, and rear mechs they want to donate to a worthy cause, just let me know.

Maiden Voyage

The saddle and bars were slightly too high, and the gears need a final fettle, but other than that it’s a pretty nice bike to ride.

Being a "traditional" frame, rather than the compact frames I’ve ridden until now, it looks a bit odd with only a few inches of seatpost emerging from the top of the seattube, however the reach is almost perfect with the 120mm stem pinched from the Schwinn. As time and money permit I’ll upgrade it to slightly better components, one possibility is converting the cross bike to Campagnolo and putting the Shimano parts from that onto the Ribble.

If I make it to the LBS after work tonight, it might get a proper outing on the Thursday evening ride this week.

Oops I did it again

I bought another bike.

Actually I only bought part of a bike. I picked up a Ribble Audax frame and carbon forks cheap from eBay, then with the addition of some standard-drop brake calipers and assorted oddments from the LBS I built it up with most of the parts from my old Schwinn Fastback.

60cm Ribble Audax frame with ITM Spider forks.
Most of a Sora groupset with Ultegra triple chainset and RX 100 brakes.
Cannondale Earth hubs on Mach 1 CFX rims with Vittoria Rubino tyres.
THE stem and bars, Planet-X seatpost and saddle.
Total weight 23.25lbs.

After a quick test ride it feels pretty good. It needs a couple of extras like full length mud guards, a couple of bottle cages, and a computer, but it’s pretty much ready to roll.

Pictures to follow when the weather is nicer.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

This morning I decided it was about time I went out for a proper ride again. However just after I made the decision, I promptly fell asleep for another two hours which delayed the start somewhat. I eventually left about 12:30 and headed out to do the normal non-stop Chew Valley Lake ride, it’s something of a misnomer because the non-stop route doesn’t actually go as far as the lake before looping back towards Bath.

The first 90 minutes were hot and sunny, the last hour was overcast and a bit breezy which was a welcome relief after the heat of the earlier part of the ride.

In the end I did 33 miles before getting home for a lunch comprising the remains of last nights pizza and a cold beer.