Friday, 13 February 2015

The London Bike Show 2015

After the almost-overwhelming experience of trying to take in the NEC Cycle Show in Birmingham last September, this year's London Bike Show seemed... well... almost provincial by comparison. It is certainly much smaller than the NEC show. The hall in which it is held is huge, but as you explore the Bike Show you find that, all too soon, you come up against the neighbouring shows (the Triathlon and the Outdoor Adventure & Travel shows, with the International Dive Show running Saturday and Sunday) 

The Bike Show itself takes up perhaps only a quarter of the total exhibition space. 

That said, the smaller size makes it easy to find specific stalls very quickly. I did not set out determined to see 'absolutely everything' and, unlike the past few years, I had already decided not to try and write a blog post giving comprehensive coverage. I had earmarked a couple of specific product launches I wanted to look at, and a few people I wanted to search out and say hello to. I did that and then took my knees home before they began grumbling too loudly! (This consideration was especially important as it was my first day back on the road bike this year and I had six miles to cycle home last night.)

So without further ado - 

As always, I visited my friends at Enigma (recently re-launched as Enigma Bicycle Works) and drooled over their two new models. 

The Evade is somewhere between the Etape and the Evoke:  lighter and faster than the Etape, without "fully loaded tourer" being part of the specification, but better suited to long days in the saddle than the racier Evoke. It is, as ever with Enigma bicycles, a "looker" and very appealing as a candidate for "fast day ride" or "Sunday best" bike. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Time To Try Again

I last cycled a 200km event in July 2010, riding completely solo and self-supported on my 1979 Puch Princess (at that time with original gearing of 48 x 14-28 five speed).

The following year I attempted the same ride with an assorted mix of friends of varying abilities, most of whom I hadn't cycled with before. We were a disorganised mess, perpetually unsure of who was ahead, who was behind, who was waiting, should I wait?, etc., etc.  About 60km in, I found myself alone in the pitch-dark countryside with a pulled muscle, with none of my cycling companions answering their mobile phones. So I phoned a friend who lived nearby and arranged a "DNF".

In 2013, I tried the same route yet again -- this time with a small group of fellow FNRttCers, which means we all stick together -- but again did not finish for a variety of reasons, including an unfamiliar saddle not set up correctly. 

Since then, I've got a good bike that fits me, kitted out with gear that suits me, and I have bullied and cajoled my knees into behaving fairly well most of the time. 

So here we go -- not the Dunwich Dynamo this time but a proper organised audax with controls and time limits, in day light through countryside I'm somewhat familiar with. I've known of this audax for a while and was vaguely tempted but finally threw my hat in the ring when I found out quite a few friends (FNRttCers and CycleChatters) had signed up.  

I'm certainly not fighting fit enough to do it tomorrow but I've got nearly four months to get myself back up to that level. I'm really looking forward to it. 

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