Like most of us, I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid. On and off mostly, then I really got into cycling when I got my Hummer collapsable mountain bike in May 2005:
I spent the whole summer riding over hill and glen in the back of beyond in Cape Breton, NS, Canada with my Dad, Dave Procter (Visit his blog here at The Pub Cyclist.) Then the next year I still went riding, but not as much... The next even less... Then only occasionally in 2008, until early 2009 when I really got into cycling again.
I couldn’t get enough of it, I watched cycling movies, races, I read blogs, articles and magazines, and most of all I went cycling as much as I could. However, my (then old) mountain bike was getting tiresome, I wanted the thrill of the road... OK I wanted to look a like Lance Armstrong cresting the top of the Alpe d’Huez, but hey, who doesn’t?
So I started looking for the perfect road bike. I finally set my eyes on the Cervelo S1, however I then saw the price tag and, well my Dad talked me out of it... Eventually. So with some money from creating a website during the summer, I was able to buy a 2008 Specialized Allez Sport.
Then the summer really began.
It was heaven, I’d never been in so much comfort and discomfort at the same time. It was so smooth on the road, yet the riding position was unfamiliar, and a little sore at first. But oh, the speed, I felt like I was on fire falling out the sky after been shot out of a canon. That feeling kept my riding all through the winter on my trainer both at home in the fall of 2009 at Gerard, and in the winter when I was at home on a work term. Incidentally I apologize to anyone that I woke up/kept up/annoyed from the noise caused by using my CycleOps trainer... I’m not the biggest fan of riding in the snow through the city to get to cold snowy roads outside of the city... Again, my apologies.
So I came out of the winter into the thaw of spring with amazing form, OK well decent form... As I was going to school in Halifax that summer, I rode as much as my schedule would permit. I probably put 1500 km on the Allez from the end of September till July when my bike got sent to the UK with the rest of my family’s stuff, but that’ll be a matter for another post.
I was left bike-less, and my Hummer could only satisfy my need for speed so much.. So I started looking for a bike again, my mind drifted back to the Cervelo... However I had just come from a semester at school, and tuition isn’t cheap, so I adjusted my sights again settling on a 2010 Giant Defy 2 (see review here). However, while good, I missed my Allez, or Allie as I like to call her. So with my being back on a work term working 10+ hours a day, and my longing to be back on my Allez, my ride frequency went down again.
My rides went down to once a week outside... Then once a week inside, then every two weeks.. Then once in November... Then I went over to the UK for Christmas and of course had to go out riding with Dad, but had been training much more than me and just about literally rode circles around me.
The first time we went out, I had a pretty hard time breathing about 30 mins in, and my legs hurt... A lot. I wasn’t on Allie because the roads were icy. But that didn’t matter, since I hadn’t been on a bike in about a month. I was cooked when the ride ended, but I felt great, emotionally of course, because physically I felt like I had been chewed up and spat out by the ravenous bug blatter beast of Traal.
I took a good week to recover from the ride, and didn’t really eat much better. Though it was Christmas and I was home, so I didn’t care that much..
We finally went out on our road bikes, riding up the canal near Dad’s house. It was heaven again, I remembered now why I had loved the Allez so much. That is of course, until the point of this story reared it’s ugly head.
My back tire had a puncture, so I pulled over and bravely told Dad to go on without me (we were on an out and back, so maybe it wasn’t THAT brave). Then I set to change my rear flat. It was then that I found the fatal flaw in the saddle bag I’d been carrying around for the last year as my repair kit. The tires on my Allez took a long stem tube, and I only had a short stemmed tube in my bag. However, after trying that tube I tried the tube that Dad had given me to carry for him, it was the same. It fit, I just couldn’t get the pump on enough to get a decent pressure... So Dad came back and ridiculed me for trying to change a flat for 40 minutes, then used his CO2 cartridge to inflate it up in about 0 seconds.
And of course with my no puncture record broken.. I got a front puncture the next day... Oh well, It was an experience...
I also learnt three valuable lessons:
- Change tubes and tires on a fairly regular basis... Especially if they are showing visible wear.
- Make sure you have the right tubes before you are on a road next to a canal in Norfolk.
- Buy many CO2 cartridges.