Violetta’s maiden ride
I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting a review or ride report for mum’s new bike, Violetta. Yesterday morning, I took her for her first ride (yes, it’s a “she”. What sort of male bike would be called Violetta?). It wasn’t a very long ride, only 14 Km or so. But in my defence, I was running late for work and didn’t have much time. You’ll see it was a pretty slow ride in the great scheme of things. In fairness:
- I rode slow because I haven’t been riding much lately
- I rode slow because it’s a brand new bike and I didn’t want to crash it
- It’s not my bike! It’s mum’s bike! And it’s set up for her. I am taller than her, and boy could I tell that bike was set up all wrong for me. Every single pedal stroke proved it.
- It was rainy and the roads were slippery.
So why did I take a brand new, shiny bike out for a shakedown ride on a rainy day? Well, there are things about this bike that make it just “want” to ride on such a day:
- Dynamo lights. They’re the lights that keep on going and going and going…
- Full mudguards. Not the crudcatcher compromise guards I put on my commuter. I’m talking about the real deal.
- Front disc brake. Why not test the theory that disc brakes are superior to rim brakes in the wet?
- Fat tyres. Compared to my regular 130PSI skinny road tyres, these should be much better in crappy weather, right?
I’m actually running late this morning, too, so I won’t make this a long post. Instead, consider it a teaser of a more thorough future post. I will simply say that this bike made riding in shitty weather a pleasure. In quick bullet-point summary (because I’m really late for work now):
- First of all, the mudguards kept all but the tiniest amount of road grime from getting on my legs.
- My feet actually stayed dry.
- The fat tyres made for a more comfortable ride, but I can’t really say they contributed to better or safer handling.
- The front disc brake was unfortunately a bit of a let-down. It’s nowhere near as strong as the rear rim brake. I suspect there needs to be some adjustment to it.
- The dynamo lights actually saved the day. In my haste to insert the battery into my PDW Radbot 1000, I didn’t quite “click” the unit closed. It worked for.. well, who knows? It worked when I set off for my ride, but somewhere along the line, it came apart and the battery dislodged. Were it not for the dynamo tail light, I would’ve had no rear lighting at all.
- Compared to my light, carbon road bike, it is noticeably heavier. This shouldn’t be counted against it. Of course it’s going to be heavier! But I noticed it, and combined with my loss of bike fitness, parts of the bike ride were tough.
- Lower gears did make up for this when climbing. Once I get my bike fitness back, I’ll have a better appreciation of whether the gearing is appropriate or if needs to be lowered a touch.
Now of course a 14Km ride can’t possibly educate anyone about how good a bike this is as a tourer. I will try to take her out for longer rides, and will also make an effort to load her up. This is, of course, assuming my mother doesn’t come and take possession of her own bike!
OK, gotta go.. stupid work getting in the way of life!