Experience

Firstly, the frame is only clamped on the top tube because it’s a steel street/dirt jump frame and can take it! All frames are now clamped on the seatpost! Secondly this was many, many, many years ago in the house I grew up in, this is not my current workspace!

I’ve built up a fair bit of experience over the years…. There is always more to learn, but here’s how I got to this point! (I apologise for throwing in specific component names – unless you know!)

Growing up 5 minutes from Cannock Chase, mountain biking is my first love. I had a paper round that went over the Chase and I saved up to get an Azonic DS1 with Hope C2 disc brakes. A nearby BMX track and skatepark introduced me to dirt jumping and street riding, which led to trials riding, which improved my trail riding on the Chase.

University at Leeds gave me access to the Dales – still on the DS1 street frame, still with Hopes and no suspension (poor student!). The Hyde Park skatepark was opened, just across the road! More street, trials and trails! I worked at Chevin Cycles in Otley at the weekend.

After uni, I saved up and went travelling. The Plan (you know how those go!) was to backpack from LAX through Mexico and Central America. It took about two weeks before I found myself on the way to a Windsurfing Resort, to buy one of the bikes they keep for the guests. One dodgy wire basket later  my Specialized Rockhopper and I started a very different trip riding through Mexico! With the addition of Ortlieb Panniers front and rear, proper racks and a Brookes saddle(sent ove whilst waiting for the Bob Dylan concert in Zacatecas) I found a new love in Touring. This all ended a bit abruptly in the South when I got tied up and had everything stolen – bike, passport, panniers and all!

Saved up and I moved to London – bright lights, big city! London’s expensive, got a job (at PwC) and bought myself an On-One Inbred – another street frame! Decided I’d not travelled enough so dreamt up the 4 Point Pootle. Took the Inbred frame, bought Ortlieb panniers…..can you see where this is going? With the longest seatpost in the world, and my trusty Hopes (E4s by this point) I set off around the UK….to the 4 points (N/E/S/W) – but starting at Land’s End and finishing at John O’Groats – or that was the plan! There was a minor hiccup along the way but eventually I rolled across the line at JOG and in doing so also raised money for Cancer Research.

Back in London, the Inbred was re-made into a mountain bike and I bought an Evil Faction frame – still steel, still street. Finally got suspension forks worthy of the rest of the components, Fox 36 Talas RC2s! A few other upgrades, Rock Shox Reverb dropper post, a few bits here and there…

I had change of scenery and during the period between jobs, I worked as a cycle courier picking up and delivering (usually documents) all around London.

Eventually, I realised, the time had come. I had to accept that I was growing up (a bit) and I didn’t bounce as well as I once did…

Time to get a road bike. Went for a Planet-X RT57 carbon road bike with Ultegra 6800 – not a bad introduction! Having had disc brakes since 17, calipers were an unpleasant shock! I entered a triathlon, got some clip on aero bars and a Profile Fast Forward seat post and a Cobb JOF55 saddle. Stormed past everybody and was then subsequently overtaken by nearly everybody on the run! Met Claire, took part in LondonSurrey100, now completed twice. Sold the Planet-X and bought a Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Red Disc. Back on discs, and never looked back!

We moved to Yorkshire!

We’ve both done several sportives this year including the Vale Velo, Ripon Revolution, White Rose Classic and Ay Up Sportive, Claire also did LondonSurrey100 for the fourth time!

We both did a 6 week track cycling course at York Sports Velodrome, Claire was accredited, but unfortunately, I was working, at…

…Cycle Heaven as a mechanic. Great place, great mechanics, great people, but after the busy summer, they set me free (But said they would have me back next summer!)

The Inbred has been lent to my Dad to use on the Chase. The Faction is still my pride and joy. The Synapse lives as functional art and is by far the most used bike! Recently I revived an old Joe Murray Kona Fire Mountain, original P2 forks and all. There is also a Scott Yecora (my very first mountain bike) in the process of rebuilding. But there is a hole in my n+1 inventory, i’m hoping to get a steel touring frame to hang all my touring gear on….but Surly Disc Truckers aren’t cheap…and neither is a Rholoff….. and what about a tandem? A Penny Farthing? Where did I put my unicycle…?

Chris out.

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