A new mount, and what it does to your biking outlook

Thought I’d take a moment to share my experience of my new bike and the difference it has made to my riding.

Back in October I caught the upgrade bug and began to hanker after something sleeker, lighter and more responsive than my faithful Resurrectio.

A few days later the deal was done and I took delivery of a Ridgeback Flight 01 flat bar road bike.

The Flight range is perhaps the most useful of Ridgeback’s fine range of machines, light and responsive enough for an all day road ride, tough enough for light trail riding and perfect for fast commuting.

One test ride was enough for me. The riding position was roomy and purposeful. The bike jumped forward with every pedal stroke. Getting out of the saddle and climbing was effortless, no flex or mushiness of any kind.

The new bike very quickly had a profound effect on my riding, willing me to ride longer and faster, extending my commutes and adding in longer road and trail rides at the weekend.

I took part in my first sportive since 2010 – the Cheshire Cat, in March, tackling the 75 mile route with very little training and conquering the notorious Mow Cop 25% gradient on the first attempt. My exploits are captured here – http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/sportives/article/sp20120326-2012-Wiggle-Cheshire-Cat—Assault-on-Mow-Cop-0

I followed it up in April with the West Riding Classic, a 60 mile ride in the Yorkshire Dales with around 1500 metres of climbing; an absorbing ride in my favourite limestone upland scenery. Here’s my event report on British Cycling – http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/sportives/article/sp20120421-The-2012-West-Riding-Classic—great-route–great-food–great-vibe-0

This month’s ride is the Wild Edric sportive, set in the Shire-esque landscape of Shropshire, 60 miles of rolling roads with climbs of Long Mountain and Long Mynd thrown in. I can’t wait.

All this is set against the backdrop of extended commutes. I still use the train for part of my Liverpool to Manchester journey, but climb off early and ride in the last 15 miles in the morning, which notches up the necessary training mileage to support my longer sportive efforts.

The bike really has changed my outlook and I haven’t even scratched the surface of its usefulness. It’s an aluminium frame and fork with clearance for up to 35mm tyres. It runs a compact double (50/34) chainset mated to a 12/25 cassette. Flat bars, Sora mechs and Tektro mini V brakes complete the picture. I’m running the stock 28mm Continental Contact tyres, which roll great, grip like stink and handle all sorts of terrain that they’re really not designed for. Up to now I’ve had one puncture and the piece of glass was big enough to trouble a car tyre.

The whole bike weighs 24lbs in the large (58cm C-T) size and is a lively and engaging ride. Best of all it cost less than £500. You can read all the tech specs at www.ridgeback.co.uk – the latest model has cable discs – an unecessary affectation, if you ask me. Here it is, languishing on the train a few days ago. Looks pretty mean doesn’t it?

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5 thoughts on “A new mount, and what it does to your biking outlook

  1. Iain

    It always irritates me that those trains dont have a proper storage place for bikes. Even where you have put yours it gets in the way of seats, the guard, and anyone wanting to use the loo. Fortunately, I only have to use them off peak, when there is lots of space.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Any system where there’s shared seating and bike storage leads to conflict and resentment. All trains should have dedicated cycle storage and for a lot more bikes. I’m convinced that there’s a ‘build it and they will come’ factor here. Multi modal bike/train commuting is hindered by a lack of space on the trains yet train companies are probably quieted by the notion that existing provision is meeting current demand!

      1. Stephen

        I liked the old guard’s vans that you could just pile bikes into. I also often wonder whether a large goods van stuck in the middle or at the end of a train with hooks from the roof for front wheels would be a good idea (French trains on route from Calais to Paris used to have this kind of set up — I have no idea whether they still do). I wonder if doing this at a weekend from Leeds and chucking everyone out at Ribblehead would be viable. Roadies or mountain bikers – could suit them all.

  2. The transformation story is inspirational and interesting. Normally, the evolution to more spirited road riding happens with a drop bar bike. But it sounds like you’ve found an ideal partner for your adventures.

  3. Wynn

    Bought myself a Flight 01 a year ago and agree with everything you say. Added a pait of bar ends which has taken the pressure of my wrists a bit. I use the bike for an extended commute into work (extended because the bike is so good to ride ) and occasional longer rides into the Yorks Dales. Added a pannier rack and mud guards. Very pleased.

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