• paul7834

How does a bloke motivate himself?

Answer: buy some new gear. Well it works for me anyway.

I know it’s still early to start any serious training for this epic bike ride, but I’m convinced that getting a few weekend kilometres can’t do any harm. So last Saturday I found an excuse to ride a modest 10 km to a rather good bike shop to look at a new machine. You see, my current bike, a 2016 Cannondale Synapse Tiagra alloy frame is a wonderful workhorse commuting bike, but the addition of panniers, mudguards and other heavyweight paraphernalia gives it a very “commuter” look, exacerbated by my 2-sizes-too-big hi-viz jacket, mountain bike shoes and baggy trousers (or shorts in summer). Perfect for my 5 km to work; less so for the long hours on the road that I see ahead of me.

I decided that I need a new dedicated endurance road bike. Lightweight and not encumbered by unnecessary accessories. A few hours of research led me to two possible candidates, a 2019 carbon/105 version of my current Synapse, or a Trek Domane SL5 Disc. Both were described as endurance bikes and had very little to choose between them in terms of spec. A test ride was in order.

My friendly bike shop got both bikes in for me and I took each for a short spin around the block. Both were a pleasure to ride. The Trek features a rather clever damping system on the seatpost and steering post which was very effective at smoothing out the uneven road surface. In fact I'd be tempted to say that it was too good to the point where it made the ride feel quite 'soft'. That said, I'm sure it would be an extremely comfortable bike to ride for hours at a time. The Cannondale, by contrast, was a more sprightly ride; I guess (and perhaps not surprisingly) quite similar to my current Synapse, just lighter and quicker. The decision was too hard. Time to take stock, do some more research and consult with my lad, who would be certain to offer some words of wisdom about how I needed to pay at least twice that much for a decent bike!

By coincidence James visited us that evening and stayed over so we could return to the bike shop the following afternoon. We chose to ride there again, though my efforts to remain in James' wake just served to remind me how much improvement I need to make. The long and the short of it is that I chose the Cannondale. I elected to ignore the conversation that James was having with the shop attendant about what upgrades I should consider for this new bike. Wheels apparently.

Now, this is not a cheap bike and I'm fortunate in being able to take advantage of the wonderful Cyclescheme programme, allowing me to pay for the bike directly from my salary over twelve months before tax. All I needed to do was the paperwork. As I write this, I'm looking forward to confirmation that all is well and the arrival of the certificate that I need to give to the shop in exchange for the bike.

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