2016... february... seems a way a way... until you begin to plan another big adventure. Suddenly the amount of time condenses and you realise that actually time to train and plan is already slipping through your fingers faster than water down a welsh mountain stream. The plans are being formed In my mind but nothing concrete has been achieved... until today.
Today I bought a bike...
Yes I know .. I have one.. but this is different and more of that later...
You live and learn right. Well I learnt a lot about myself and cycling in a month out on the road and a couple of problems surfaced which I am hoping to avoid next time. My right 4th finger got to a point where it wouldnt straighten, possibly because of a slightly incorrect position on the bike.. maybe too much pressure on my palms... trapping a nerve or something like that. The solution in my mind was to get a proper bike fitting done.
So off I went to a local bike shop (AW Cycles for anyone interested) on the off chance they would have a slot to sort me out in.
My objective for the next challenge is North to South New Zealand... nominally as a solo ride... but with the possibility of having a friend drive an RV, which I would only meet up with at the end of the day to use as a mobile hotel in the truest sense of the word. This means I could carry less kit but would still need to carry enough should I need to be self sufficient for a few days. This would make family and friends happier but still satisfy my need to feel 'alone' and be self reliant. Email me if you think its cheating and I will seriously consider tweaking the idea lol.
So with that in mind... I needed a light bike (New Zealand is NOT flat) with plenty of gears but strong enough to carry at least one pannier full of kit and therefore have attatchments for a rack.
But first the fitting. I got to try on some really nice cycling shoes (bank manager notified of the price) in order to help achieve the fitting. Then handed a pair of cycling shorts to change into.(trying to think if I shaved my legs yesterday or the day before lol).. the indignities began. Height measured... foot size recorded and all going well. Then with the words.. stand astride this bar... it got a lot more uncomfortable. Specifically for the (ahem) inside leg measurement... the idea is that the bar is Inched upwards until you are just about standing with your heels on the floor... any men having this done would undoubtedly be speaking a whole octave higher for a few hours after this procedure... I have been more comfortable after surgery frankly. Very glad no one was standing with a camera in hand at this point but it was only a short period of embarrassment and as I have shared worse (chafing issues) I dont see any reason to keep this quiet.
Then looking like an idiot with arms outstretched for shoulder and arm measurements... tap it all into a computer program... to be told that I have a wierdly short body but my long arms and legs make up for it... thanks for that!
Anyway... all this essentially means that both Trek and Giant bikes (which surprisingly the shop stocks) suit me perfectly in their frame design. Which gives me a choice to make. Im drawn to the Trek but the one I like is only in White (gets muddy quickly) and more importantly is slightly more expensive.
Giant have a defy series which go from 5 (the cheapest) to 1.. going up in £100 increments. The 2 is nice but probably more than I was going to spend... the 4 components arent as good... what about the 3... only in white again. BUT... Giant make a womens version and joy of joys.. its black and red. Perfect...
Whilst paying I ended up chatting about route 66 .. book etc and some interest in some sort of sponsorship a possibility... although I wont hold my breath yet.
So thats a bike fitting... unless you have a reason.. dont do it. Mildly embarrassing... majorly uncomfortable... but if it means my hands return from New Zealand in better shape than from America it will have been well worth it.
Picking the bike up Wednesday so will let you know how it goes (like the wind I hope)