Posted by: Ian | October 14, 2012

JOGLE Day 2. The bike

There’s nothing more wonderful than riding through the glens. Today’s stretch from Tongue to Dromnadrachit, and especially the initial section on the single-track to Lairg, was spectacular. It’s my new all-time favorite stretch of road for cycling.
I’ve chosen to do the trip on my Astraeus. It’s a great bike but the Van Nic that I tried to buy – the Zephyr – would have been better for this. For one thing you can affix a rack to it. (I’m also still smarting from the fact that VN gave me a crummy FSA headset, which has predictably already needed replacing, rather than the Chris King that I ordered from their site.) Anyhow, the Astraeus is fast, metal and comfortable. It’s not quite as comfortable as my Cervelo R3; it’s hard to say how much of that is in the bike and how much comes from the hour or more that Condor sank into fitting it properly for me. No web-based sizing protocol can match that.
To prepare for the ride I did little more than get Bicycle Chain to service away it’s increasing number of rattles and double-wrap the bars for me. Unwisely, it now transpires, I switched on my fancy Fulcrum wheels because I like them so much. My combined me + bag weight is not much more than 80 kg and it’s all coming down the seat tube as I have a beam rack. Even carbon race wheels are good for 90 kg. Nonetheless, only two days in I have a broken spoke on the back hoop. I have to hope that if I open up the rear brake caliper the remaining spokes can hold the wheel true enough for long enough to get me 51 miles (and up getting on for 6,000 feet of ascent) to the nearest en route bike shop at Fort William tomorrow.
I did, for a moment, consider buying a Fratello frame before I set off and swapping all the Astraeus components onto that. The Fratello is such a perfect touring bike. If I’d done that the aesthetic of it would have driven me to fit more appropriate wheels and I wouldn’t have this predicament.

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