Sunday, August 19, 2007


Folks I'm back. Last week, as I may have mentioned , I was on a wonderful bike tour in hilly central NY. We (about 90 in total) rode from Connecticut to Oneonta,NY through Massachusetts. The rides were hilly and plenty of challenging roads lay our way. We average 30 miles per day and by the end of the week, we were looking at about 150 miles.

The ride was organised by the Main Street Baptist Church of Oneonta. They have been doing this for about 20 years, and the medley of bicycling hills and doing ministry really amazes me. Best of all, it works!

Interestingly, I rode my Bianchi vintage steel frame, a 7 speed setup. Out of all people, I looked pretty ominous with a double chainring, among triple chainring bikes. Amazingly, I hadn't thought about the difficulty of the tour, neither was I too interested in my bike. I just wanted to ride and enjoy it, and the bike did the rest of the work. It performed fabulously, and I really enjoyed being on a steel bike after such a long time. Except for the slightly longer top tube, everything else was perfect.

It gave me a chance to really just ride, you know. Who cares about the bike.

Interestingly, when I got back to Buffalo, I was in that same mood and so decided to take my steel frame to the local crit race.

And I didn't bother shaving my legs.

Boy, what a mistake!

Ok, first of all, the frame was very fluid, but that must have been the problem. It was just too fluid and I soon found myself running out of gears for the 25mph average race. I was also recovering from a cold. Boy, I sucked some serious air that day. After staying with the pack for about 5-6 laps, I was dropped and "killed"! And this was after an 8 hour work shift earlier that day! Did I tell you that its one of the most hardcore things you can do? Work and then race?! And win ofcourse!

So hence, I'm not hardcore.

I have been thinking of a new frame. Riding aluminium, especially a low budget one, hurts. I have dramatically improved its "road bump dampening" by putting on a titanium seatpost. Atleast I think so.

But efficiency is not where I want it to be. I'm not sure if its the drivetrain or the frame. I sometimes don't feel that the immense power I put is going anywhere into the bicycle. I was impressed months ago when my top sprint speed of two years back, 24 mph (hahahah, with a triple chainring and all that!) is now my cruising speed. I can do tremendously better when sprinting on the frame , I reach about 33-34 mph without a train.

But still. Looks wise, and build wise, I need a pure race horse for my next frame. I'm tired of seeing weld beads and knowing something must be getting lost there. I'm tired of seeing a sloping top tube (I'm very traditionalist) I'm tired of seeing Specialized Allez A1 sport glaring at the outsider. Naa, thats not a racehorse. Thats a mule!

Its funny, someone called me a very picky cyclist last week. Its true. I'm very picky. Very picky about my handlebars,tire pressure,color coordination, my brake tolerance.

Once you start racing, thats a behaviour you get from somewhere. You get spoiled. You suddenly want the best of everything.

That is, if you're not a Lance. If you are a ridiculous bike rider, you could probably ride ANYTHING and still win, and be happy.

Anyway, as I mull Titanium vs CF vs Steel for my next frame, be sure to check out Voigt's Tour of Germany victory.For one of the hardest working cyclists in the pro peleton, he rightly deserves
a win! And a few hot ladies maybe...

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