Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Escape

We approached the traffic island marking the start of the climb from opposite directions, but crucially I would arrive 10 or 15 metres ahead. This could be interesting.

It’s at moments like these that being casually deliberate is oh so important. To panic would be to show weakness, and with this in mind, I settled into a steady pace. This was a climb I knew well, and my plan was to use this to my advantage.
I could hear the mechanical whir of chain over cassette as he approached; the raised pitch indicating a high cadence, a sure sign that he was trying. After all, there’s nothing like a nicely executed catch to boost morale.  I took a moment to put myself in his shoes.  Perhaps he knew the climb well too, entirely likely given its popularity amongst the local cycling fraternity. In front was someone (hopefully)struggling with too big a gear. Sit tight and wait for the inevitable shift down the gears, before gliding past and disappearing into the distance.  Back in my own shoes I held firm, and resisted the urge to accelerate.

After a gentle start the first test of the climb approached, a gentle sweeping S bend where the gradient kicked up noticeably. Still, I could hear my fellow cyclist behind me, spinning furiously, and waiting to pounce. It was time to push a bit harder, and to increase the pressure on the pedals a little. I wanted to test him, to see if he could respond to this change in pace. I was feeling good, and as my pace increased I heard the first indication that trouble was brewing behind me. The unmistakable sound as he grabbed for another gear was music to my ears, and I increased the pressure another notch.

Another gear was grabbed, and I could sense the distance between us growing. Out of the saddle for one final acceleration, and it was all over. Behind me I heard the final sound of capitulation, as he shifted to his inner ring. He was mine; the elastic band had snapped. I pushed on and all was suddenly quiet, I was alone on the climb. My escape was complete.
Vive La Velo


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Goodbye Five, Hello Dale

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Old Meets New
The cutting of the gear cable was symbolic, and marked the point of no return. After much agonising, it was time for the Orange 5 to go. Purchased back in 2007, it was the icon of a time before I’d discovered riding on the road.

The final nail in its coffin was the recent arrival of #N+1, another mud plugger and one which could not be more different from the Orange. However the big wheels and simplicity of Dale won the day, and made me realise that it was time.

As I stripped the bike down i remembered the great rides we’d enjoyed together, from crossing fells in Lancashire, to climbing the Wrekin. It wasn’t all good though, as the scar on my top lip reminds me daily.

With the parts now gradually making there way to new owners via the wonders of eBay I can only hope the bikes new owner(s) enjoy  it as much as I have.

Vive la Velo