Getting Tom in shape

I took Major Tom for his first semi-decent trip today, about 4 1/2 miles to Sainsbury’s and back. I’m really not sure I can avoid changing to a shorter handlebar stem – lets just say when I’m riding on the drops my voice rises an octave or two! We’ll see if it’s any better once the Turbo arrives, but it’s a bit of an issue.

Tom’s in Leamington so I’m on a bit of a voyage of discovery as to how to get about there on a bicycle. I’ve found at least two cycle paths that stop abruptly in the middle of nowhere. It’s interesting to see that cars give me just a little less room than on the three-speed, at least that’s what it feels like. 

So far I’ve not got to the bottom of how to ride the bike and I’m mainly sticking it in third and changing as little as possible. Hopefully it’ll all click into place at some point, but it already feels easier to maintain a slightly higher cruising speed. There’s nothing wrong with the gears, they change just fine, it’s just that I’m not yet fully familiar with the bike’s handling and that reduces my inclination to reach down for a change. I’ll get there.

I got back from Sainsbury’s (or rather the nearby Halfords) equipped with a spoke key and tried to true Tom’s slightly wobbly wheels a bit. Hopefully I did a reasonable job, it certainly looked like an improvement to me. Next time though I must remember to take the computer off – all my moving the front wheel about as I made adjustments has added a tenth of a mile!

I also got to ride a second bike earlier today, as my housemate is borrowing a bike from a colleague to train for a triathlon and I was delivering it to the house. It’s a lovely bike, lugged steel frame made by Ribble of Reynolds 653 tubing, with Campagnolo everything (derallieurs and brakes front and rear, cranks, brake levers, probably hubs too), a Chinelli stem and handlebars, a Selle Italia saddle and index shifting. It looked only slightly tatty, and apart from the saddle being far too low it was a really nice ride. I only rode it for about 1km though. I was almost a little jealous. Almost.

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