I have a love/hate relationship with road bikes. The bit I love is is the bikes and how beautiful they so often are. The bit I hate is the roads and how terrifying they can be.
I dipped my toe into road biking a few years ago and never quite managed to enjoy it. I found my bike – a Giant Defy – to be far too twitchy. I couldn’t really reach the brakes and I didn’t quite trust myself not to wobble off just as a car passed.
But a lot of time has passed since then, and my curiosity recently got the better of me. Speaking to a friend who happened to be testing a lot of road bikes a few weeks back got me thinking – was the time right to try one out again?
I did a bit of research and learnt that things have changed at least a bit since I last had a go on skinny tyres; roadies have discovered disc brakes! That was an interesting development, as the lack of braking power was a huge problem for me previously.
So, I had a chat with Nathan at the Independent Bike Co. and he agreed to get me a bike in to try. Not just any bike either, but a really beautiful Genesis Equilibrium Disc 10. The bike is gorgeous and, more importantly, features the disc brakes I was so keen to see.
I took the bike out at the weekend, to give it a test and find out if I really could ever enjoy skinny tyres. I didn’t hold out much hope as I wobbled off down the driveway. But I was soon pedaling comfortably along quiet country roads, managing to change gear and brake when needed.
By the time we made it to our halfway cream tea stop, I was starting to have my heartstrings tugged by a really beautiful bike. Importantly, the cream tea was excellent and helped me to understand that road biking has its up sides!
As we headed off again after the scones, I popped the bike into a bigger gear and experienced the satisfying feeling of it easily moving at speed. A road bike is definitely a different beast to the mountain bikes I’m used to, and I really enjoyed the smooth acceleration it offered. I can understand now the praise people heap on road bikes for their offer of an efficient ride, allowing a cyclist to rack up the miles in a short space of time.
So, what was the outcome of all this? Well, I popped back in to see Nathan in the afternoon and parted with a few pennies! I have some tweaks to make to get the bike just right (a bigger cassette for starters!), but I’m looking forward to getting out on some quiet roads and building up my fitness in a different way. The mountain bike will always have my heart, but it seems I have it in me to share just a little bit of my love.