I’ve been breaking in the Campeur. This past week was my first dry run on it to work – I enjoyed it but was quite hard at times. The usual distance (12 mi, 400 ft elevation change) unloaded would take me 45 minutes but loaded mostly downhill from Vienna it took 59. The way back was tough, I had a 15mph headwind and uphill all the way, oh and 20 lbs of “gear” like a laptop and change of clothes. So it took me 1 hr 12 minutes in 28 degree weather. Esh. STILL 30 minutes faster than my old commute which I’ll take and FREE. I won’t do that again most likely until the sun/temperatures are up for longer periods of time.
I learned a lot of things from that run, things I need to heed to make my commute far easier. First, I invested time into installing a remote computer program to work on my laptop from my computer at home. It’s very neat and it saves me about 10 lbs so I’ll take it. Second, always wear cycling shoes. I didn’t wear them due to it being dark and for fear I wouldn’t be able to clip in easily but I’ll get over that. They won’t let me slip which can’t happen when there is a lot of weight on the back for safety reasons. Third, I just need to do it more and get into shape. Fourth, my top tube length is longer than the previous so I adjusted the fore/aft positions of the saddle today. Fifth, take your time.
Today, I went on a short ride around town, about 15 mi or so, it doesn’t matter. But, after adjusting the saddle closer to the stem, if that makes sense, about 6mm and lowering the saddle too, to about 2mm shorter, the bike felt a lot more suited to me. I didn’t want to push the saddle closer so split the difference with lowering the saddle. Call me Eddy Merckx but those changes make a lot of difference! The old proverbial high saddle, low stem look isn’t practical and it is something I’ve come to terms with getting rid of. Both for necessity and practicality.
Going down a few long hills today was even more wonderful after completing more fitting adjustments. A few of these hills had me going around 25-30 mph. I don’t pretend to brag about speed but I will brag about this bike’s completely stable feel it has for going fast such as that. Any other bike (including carbon) I’ve ridden usually starts shaking, unstable, etc but not this one. At first, I thought it was due to the bike being a little heavier but no, it is actually lighter than my Fuji and it is loaded with a rack and fenders.
A lot of folks (including family, friends) don’t really understand why I (and other folks like me) spend so much money on a recreational tool if you want to call it that. But, I say this. This feeling aforementioned, a momentary feeling of oneness with a machine and to be totally in control, to go fast and not feel at all daunted is everything which led me to make this decision. Beyond that, I don’t know how else to explain it. Guess you just had to be there. Done.
Muckle Flugga – the northern most point in the UK, in the Shetland Island chain. Watching this video inspired me to name my bike that. Some bike folks think its childish to name a bike, some love it. I love it and so from here on out I think I’ll name my bike “Muckle” for short. After all, this bike is supposed to take me places right?