The overriding message of this blog, from the beginning, is that cycling can be done with any bike. I’m living proof of this. If you ever popped round to my house for a cup of tea, looking outside at the tatty old hybrid bike you’d wonder if it really is “the London Cyclist” who lives here. Frequently, when I chat to someone involved in the cycling world they shake my hand and can’t avoid producing a look of disappointment at the bike I have in tow. That’s fine with me. My second hand hybrid bike, purchased years ago, has always tackled any task I’ve thrown at it.
Recently however, I’ve had calls from the dark side. They’ve come in the form of a Trek Madison 3.1 road bike.
The lift-it-to-believe-it lightness and speed focused design make it a bike that is always beckoning me to go out for a ride. There’s something about knowing that under my own steam, a road bike is one of the fastest ways I can travel.
May I welcome you therefore, to day one of our road bike week. The posts this week will be useful for anyone who is considering a road bike purchase but also for those London Cyclist readers out there who’ve already taken the plunge. We’ll be looking at which road bikes give you the most value for your money, showing you some excellent road cycling routes to try around London and also talking about why would anyone want a road bike.
Let’s start with the latter.
The answer will vary depending on what you are looking for. If you have a lengthy cycle commute then you may enjoy the speed advantage of a road bike. Alternatively, perhaps you wish to join a road cycling club to get fit. It may just be that you enjoy long rides in the countryside and a road bike is the most comfortable way to ride it.
So what exactly makes a road bike, a road bike? The first is the weight. Generally, everything is optimised to be as light as possible. This often means expensive carbon components. The second is the riding position. The drop handlebars mean that you can adapt your riding position depending on where you rest your hands. The thin wheels are another noticeable change, again contributing to speed gains and a different feel in the handling.
Compared to other bikes, you may notice a road bike lacks the relevant mounts for panniers. Restricting you somewhat to what you are willing to carry on your back. Although, there are exceptions to this.
My personal reason for wanting to try out a road bike was to discover another side of the cycling world that I’m learning more about.
If you already ride a road bike, then leave a comment below about what first made you decide it was the way to go.