Sunday, April 08, 2007

A brace of beautiful bikes.

I own five bikes. Actually, I thought I owned four bikes, but a visit to the shed surprised me. I had them all roadworthy for a while last year, but canibalised one to make up the single speed. I only corrected this last weekend when I got the road bike going once more. Easter has given me the chance to take it out for a spin.

The road bike is a mid-80s Centurion racer. From memory it's a Turbo with Tange number 1 steel tubing. They were all the rage for a while. It was my training bike until I rode my early-model Vitus aluminium frame up the back of a car. It's probably had half a dozen paint jobs, for the moment it's red. In an age where everything seems to be made of plastic, it's very old fashioned, but it's lovely to ride.

We've been out for a spin in the hot, still weather we've been enjoying the last couple of days. I'm struck inside churning out 6,000 words for a book I've been talked into because I want to spend the money on a new dual-suspension mountain bike (N+1+1+1+1 etc, how many bikes does one man need? Hey, I ride them all I tell ya!). So I've been going out for a blast each afternoon around 4.

Compared to the Surly, which I love dearly, the road bike is like a Ferrari. Despite the vintage downtube shifters and the 25-year old Campagnolo Nuovo Record gear, it's still good for two or three kilometres an hour extra on my average speed. And it just inpires me to go faster. Even with though it's as twitchy as hell its narrow handlebars and high-pressure skinny singles , I dared to ride no-hands for a short distance today. I've owned it since 1985, which seems a long time ago, but boy I love this bike.

We're heading up to Sydney for a few days this week to visit some of our old haunts and test the legs against some old climbs. I'm a bit larger these days - a man taking a stomach for a ride - but I'm looking forward to it immensely.

2,131km so far this year.

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