For my day job, I’m fortunate enough to work for British Cycling, creating website content, shooting video and reporting on events from track racing to mass participation rides. This gets me to some interesting places and gives me access to some fantastic events.
At the weekend, I was lucky enough to be on reporting and video-creation duty at the British Cyclo-Cross championships. ‘Cross is a branch of cycle sport that I’ve loved for a while – I’ve even dipped my toes in its murky but intoxicating waters a few times myself. However, my visit to Derby triggered an inevitable ‘I need a new bike’ reflex.
It happens all the time. I hire a mountain bike at a trail centre – I drive home believing that need a mountain bike. I test ride a friend’s new road bike and I simply must have one. Inevitably, after watching the ‘cross all weekend I convinced myself that what I required was a whisper-light cyclo cross bike. A veritable frenzy of Googling, review reading, bike website ingestion and price comparison ensued. It only took me an instant to convince myself that I needed a new bike, but it took days to convince myself that, actually, I don’t.
Sure, a cyclo-cross bike is a versatile beast – suitable for road rides, commutes, light to moderate trail riding etc. However, the more I looked at the huge range of cross bikes out there, the more I realised just how honed-for-purpose my current bike is.
Most of my cycling would be classed as commuting, with the odd trail ride and the even odder longish road ride thrown in. For these purposes, Resurrectio is ideal. Sure she’s more than a little portly – (around 30 lbs without fenders, lights, kickstand, etc) but that weight is a sign of strength – the sort of strength that you need to survive the standard commuting abuse; top tube dents, potholed roads etc. Resurrectio is also unashamedly low key. She’s dull green, she’s got fenders, she doesn’t look fast – therefore she doesn’t attract unwanted attention.
A race oriented ‘cross bike would certainly be a few mph faster and a lot livelier to ride, but I doubt it would be as durable long term and the thought of leaving a blingy bike at the bike rack or in the bicycle compartment on the train just fills me with anxiety. Speaking of anxiety, the majority of cross bikes come equipped with carbon forks…
Resurrectio also been kitted out in a way that few bicycle manufacturers would consider. High mounted drop bars, V brakes, platform pedals, Brooks saddle and my proprietary ‘wide range double and chainguard – triple chainset’.
I considered a more sensible frame upgrade – perhaps to a Surly Cross Check -which would be a full 2 ½ lbs lighter that Resurrectio’s burly plain gauge chromo heart. But what’s 2 ½ lbs in frame weight once you’ve dropped a 190lb rider on top? The weight of a couple of full water bottles? The Surly – while undoubtedly the most versatile, elegant, good-value bicycle frame on the planet – costs £299 for the frame and fork plus the necessary new headset, seatpost, stem, front mech and BB to make my current parts fit – so let’s call it £400. I’m sure I could lose 2 ½ pounds of belly fat for less than £400.
So after a few days of Googling, pondering and review reading, I’ve turned once more to Resurrectio, my home-brew country bike, whose plain-gauge, chromo heart cost me a mere £13 and vowed I wouldn’t look at another again. Well, at least for a while…