Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Need To Talk About Lexa

Before taking a bit of a break from my blog, I had a bit of an experience on my bike that knocked me for six. On July 20th I cycled London to Southend to complete the Rapha Women's 100 challenge- aimed to get women all over the world out there on their bikes. I wasn't expecting it to be hard, and long story short, it was. And it left me wondering I should just sack off cycling altogether.

Poor T didn't know what to say or do, he cycled with me and he's not used to seeing my defeated either, but he did suggest with a bonus coming my way at work, it might be time to consider an upgrade in bike since part of my hardship was climbing hills on a bike without gears. I wasn't so sure it was worth bothering.

Finally getting round to stitching this on! #womenscycling
Hard earned, the #womens100 Roundel from Rapha and the baselayer I treated myself to instead of a crappy Strava T-shirt

But it turns out that going into a bike shop as a consolation after being in the dentist with a broken tooth is a bit like browsing shoes when I'm feeling a bit lacklustre. Costly... but quite productive.

The only downside is that it's got pink accents... 

Luckily bonus time coincided with sale time and after test riding a few road bikes I'd already had half an eye on before, I decided on a Trek Lexa SL Triple (It's actually still on sale in a 56cm frame for anyone looking). The Lexa is a female specific road bike that has several different specs (and as such comes in smaller frame sizes as well as having narrower bars and slightly different geometry) and I opted for the high end of the specifications- this is the SL Triple- for those not massively into bikes, it's light, it has 30 gears and came with upgraded tyres and gears and brakes compared to the 2 or 3 models below it.

Lexa Front

To say that it's been a turning point would be an understatement. The first ride was a bit wobbly- but I'm blaming that an the anaesthesia I was pumped full of, it's light, it's speedy, it's not uncomfortable to ride, I can't tell you how glad I am to have spent a little more than originally intended and not need to put hardcore tyre (non-protected tyres and broken glass do for many punctures make) and to end up with a broader range of gears.

Autumn cycling- all about @endura #supercommuter kit and new bikes
Autumn riding in all it's glory! 

T & I recently took our bikes to the edge of the Brecon National Park for a weekend whilst staying with family. Hills used to instil FEAR. When you only have one gear on your bike you have to put your whole body into getting you and the bike up it, If you slow down, you stop. Brecon was a crash course in getting over the fear and learning the gears- I've not ridden a gear bike since my age was in single figures...

This is without doubt a sporty bike, and a substantial step up from my city girl fixie, but I couldn't be happier. I never knew I was going to love cycling even close to as much as I actually do when I decided to buy a bike for a 10km commute to my office each day, and given that it was purchased via Cyclescheme for about £450 it did me well- I saved almost twice that much money in travel fares in just shy of a year I rode it and it got me more active than ever before. It gave me a hobby, new friends and some daily joy. I'm not sorry I didn't jump straight into a snazzy road bike. But it was my time.

Having been away from London for just under 6 weeks, I've been itching to get back on my bike for real and get out there- my new journey to work is much shorter and isn't 5 days per week so I'm going to see a big decline in monthly mileage, but T & I are both excited for Autumn riding on the weekends now we're a bit more evenly matched on the bike front- despite the rain that has been falling incessantly,I find the autumn is a beautiful time to ride as it's not freezing yet, but the decreased temperature from the summer months creates fewer challenges with hydration.

As ever, if you're interested in cycling- especially cycle commuting which brings so many benefits- shout me, I love to chat bikes and cycle and I'm the South East  #SuperCommuter for CycleScheme too (more on recent events with that soon).

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