Buying my First Road Bike

Posted on February 28th, 2010 by Tim Bell in Getting Started, The Road to Tourmalet

Having been a commuter cyclist for years, I had always sheltered a desire to follow in my brother’s footsteps by buying a proper road bike and slipping into some garish lycra. I finally seemed to have a few pennies to rub together and, more importantly, enough spare weekends to think about getting involved. So when the call came in December 2009, “how about we ride the Etape du Tour next summer”, I was all over it like a rash on a sailor. Little did I realise at that point quite how nasty a bike ride this would be, which is probably a good thing as otherwise I probably would have bottled it. But having decided that a nice life-long goal would be to ride all the mountains of the Tour de France, taking on one of the toughest first up would make the rest feel easy, right?

There was certainly no way up the Col du Tourmalet (and the rest) without a bike with curvy handlebars, so step one was to buy my first road bike. It was immediately obvious why cyling was exploding in popularity. Quite apart from the surge in commuter cycling following the public transport bombings of July 7th 2005, there was no denying the impact Lance Armstrong (love him or hate him) had had on the serious end of the sport in English-speaking countries and the general influence of the American manufacturers in making racing technology available to the masses. Add to this British domination of the velodrome and a spectacular 2009 Tour for Wiggo and the Manx Missile, it came as no surprise that road cycling had tipped from niche interest to something approaching mainstream.

But above all this, bikes are magnificent toys. If flash cars are out of your price range, or just produce too many nasty emissions, bikes offer the possibility of pure, lean racing technology which won’t harm the planet and will increase your fitness. The car analogy holds up; you can save a Ferrari for Sunday best and hammer your Range Rover off road – there are even hybrids for nipping around town but we won’t dwell on those – compromise should never enter the sporting lexicon. So it was time to get my first Ferrari and after chatting to a few bike nuts I posted an ad on bikeradar.com. Soon after that I was on a train to Chatham to pick up my carbon-framed Focus Cayo 2009, barely used and half the showroom price. This was to prove useful as, however much I thought I anticipated the slippery slope of accessorising that lay ahead, someone had daubed the road in Swarfega before I got there… click here to read about the accessories I acquired shortly after getting the bike.

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One Comment on “Buying my First Road Bike”

  1. Kipu Nerek

    I really enjoyed this post, especially the “examples in this post” portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks

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