Being a steel bike person , the Genesis range has interested me for a while for one reason or another but unfortunately they either crop up miles away from Northamptonshire or are well over my budget .

 

Well imagine my surprise last week when a Genesis CDF popped up for sale in nearby Buckinghamshire. It was just over my budget so after a quick couple of messages I found out the seller would quite happily do a deal . Arrangements were made to meet up Friday pm at a point half way between the pair of us .

 

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Olney Town Sign

The seller volunteered to bring a second bike so that I could go for a proper test ride which was a very generous offer indeed , but I was quite happy with a visual inspection and a few laps of the market square in Olney just to make sure everything worked as per my expectations.  I felt a full on test ride would have meant swapping pedals , lowering the saddle , raising the bars and fitting some lights.  Only then I would have been ready to hit the road on a bike I had never ridden before in the centre of the town whilst riding with a total stranger who’s pride and joy I was sat astride .

 

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Genesis cdf

 

Upon visual inspection I could see that the bike appeared to have been well looked after even though the seller had used it as a winter bike since buying it towards of the end of 2014. He even mentioned to me how he used it once to do a cyclocross event as they are sold as a cyclocross bikes , he thought it was a great winter bike but certainly not a competitive cross bike for somebody at his level . I have always thought of them as a great all-rounder bike . An all-rounder bike is something that is at home pootling along the local cycle paths , doing a 30 mile leisure ride with some mates or setting off for a week’s camping trip which would mean having to carry a fair bit of equipment with me .

 

The 4 laps of the market square I completed were very successful and the bike felt nice to ride and all the gears changed nice and crisply as the standard fitment shimano Sora should do. The disc brakes felt like a huge stepping stone forward compared to a set of  Weinmann centre pulls of yesteryear that I am more used to . The previous owner had upgraded the standard rear caliper to a dual piston one for improved rear braking .

 

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Genesis cdf

The tyres fitted on the standard Alex rims were Bontrager 32mm All Weather Tyres that gave a surprisingly smooth and firm ride compared to the ride I was expecting from such a wide tyre . These were newly fitted so still have the little spikes on them which I always find interesting to watch as you ride along .

 

The CDF is the Reynolds 520 tubed brother of the highly praised Croix de fer that is offered in Reynolds 931 and 725 tubing and slightly better shimano group sets and Alex rimmed wheelsets .

I thought it would be wise to miss riding it on Saturday morning as it was raining well and I didn’t think it was fair to have my first proper ride in such conditions. Sunday promised to be dry with damp roads so I decided to leave my first ride until then by which time I could mount some lights , swap pedals over and do some other tweaks .

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Sunday’s ride was planned to be 30 miles over a mixture of quiet main roads and the majority on even quieter back roads that wind between little villages with the occasional hill thrown in for good measure . Once I had got out of town and on the open road I could relax a bit more and get on with riding . I soon found an a nice rhythm that was comfortable for me and kept the average speed over the 16 mph mark without any issues , the hills were handled with ease and I only dropped on to the inner ring on one occasion .

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Genesis cdf

The bike certainly behaved itself and took in all the various levels of road surface very well without any excessive crashing about , the tyres were rolling along nicely without being harsh and gave a very nice amount of wet weather grip and reassurance when required .  The sora gearing system was working faultlessly with nice solid and crisp gear changes and those disc brakes were stopping very well indeed .

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Genesis cdf

 

As the ride progressed I thought how competent this bike was and I certainly was enjoying it very much. The last few rides I have done have been on a Trek 1.1 which I had also found to be a nice bike , if I had to choose between the two it would be a tough decision based on only 29 CDF miles, as these progress I think the decision will become easier .

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Trek 1.1 Alpha

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Bargains to be had

I have noticed over the last few weeks  that a number of lightly used road bikes are being offered for sale that have covered little or no mileage at all since the original owner handed over his wad of cash .

 

Somebody said that for the last few years Cycling has taken over from Golf as a way to further your career if you are that way inclined . It also seems that some people buy a bike to enable them to do a charity bike ride and once that is done it never gets used again until they sell it at a fraction of the original cost .

 

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Boardman

I blame some of this down to the various Cycle to Work schemes where you purchase a bike through your employee and it’s paid from your wages before tax is applied as far as I am aware . It’s something I have never really looked at doing myself so the above statement might not be completely correct .

 

Over the last 2 or 3 years I have picked up 4 or 5 newer style bikes that have been purchased and ridden perhaps less than a dozen times before being resigned to a life stationary in the shed / garage or attached to an unused turbo trainer .

 

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Specialized Allez

 

The Specialized Allez I had a few weeks ago was 7 years old and had covered less than 100 miles either on the road or the turbo trainer it was mounted to when I bought it  . Its original owner had been advised to do some cycling to help a knee injury and by the sound of it the only thing it helped him do was to lose a fair chunk of its original sale price when he sold it 7 years later .

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Carrera

 

A similar purchase was a Carrera Virtuso frame set I bought about 4 years ago that somebody had bought and ridden once into town. He  padlocked it up as you would and when he returned all that was left was the frame and its ancillaries but no wheels !!! So rather than buy a set of wheels the seller just sold the rest  cheaply in one lump . So all I needed to do was slot in a pr of wheels and set up the gears and brakes and then ride it off in to the sunset .

 

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Marin Argenta Comp

Another bike I bought was a Marin Argenta that a boyfriend had bought his then girlfriend without checking what size she wanted , she soon realized that the 56cm sized frame was not really ideal for a 5ft 2” lady ! Fair do’s she did try rotating the bars right round to see if that helped but alas it didn’t . When I picked this up she even threw in a complete starters kit ie Track Pump , lights , Helmet and spare innertubes all for the same price .

 

This week I picked up a Trek 1.1 Alpha that its previous owner had bought 18 months previously on his employees cycle to work scheme. He purchased it to do a sponsored 700 mile week long bike ride and then went out a couple of times with his local bike shop riding group , but soon gave that up and joined a gym instead . Again this was picked up with a Helmet , pump , shoes and a Garmin 200 and all of which had hardly been used .

 

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Trek 1.1 Alpha

So yes there are bargains to be had and these bikes make ideal starter bikes for beginners or fellow cyclists who enjoy riding bikes bought at a bargain price .

Weekend Ahead

Another weekend is approaching quickly , so hopefully I can get out on one of my bikes and finally crack my 2016 target of 4000 miles .

 

 

Last time I did my adding up for the year I needed to cover 400 more miles, when I checked earlier this week my total was up to 3929.9 so just over 70 miles short of my target . The target was set meaning I had to cover 333.33 miles per month or just over 13 miles per day. With my daily commute of 8.5 miles this would give a yearly total of 2210 miles so leaves me with 1800 miles to do at weekends where most of my miles are done .

 

 

So with the above in mind I am expecting to cover at least 50 miles on my early am Saturday and Sunday rides which hopefully combined with my daily commutes will break the 4k barrier . Now, this leads to a couple of questions like what bike to use and what should my target be for 2017 ?

 

 

The bike question is relatively easy as at the moment there are only 4 of my bikes all ready to ride and I feel the need to use my Marin Bear Valley MTB and take in a scenic road ride across to Pitsford Reservoir where I can do a couple of laps of the cycle path and head back home which should give me about 30 miles depending on which way route I take . Then Sunday I could use my 1950’s Raleigh Roadster and give it its longest ride to date by doing a gentle 30 mile ride around my local lanes .

Marin Bear Valley

 

The Raleigh has been with me for about 6 months and has been my main commuter bike during a lot of this time. It has only been out of Wellingborough twice in my ownership and has never been on a ride longer than 18 miles for one reason or another , but I feel this bike is capable of doing a longer distance now its rear hub has been swapped to a more reliable sturmey archer 3 speed aw hub assembly after its original 1950’s FM 4 speed hub died a couple of months ago .

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Raleigh Roadster

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Raleigh Roadster

The Marin on the other hand has been with me since 1992 so has seen quite a bit of usage although it did have a 10 year gap where I did no cycling at all and it languished in my parents’ shed . Its current role is as back up commuting bike so does not get a lot of use at the moment . A lap or 2 of Pitsford will be nice early in the day with a couple of bright lights attached to the bars to light the way along the track around the reservoir .

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My 2017 target is another story I am not sure whether to see where I finish off this year and just add 10% or whether to just pluck a figure out of thin air and see what happens .

2010 Specialized Allez Triple For Sale

For the last couple of days I have been using a 2010 year Specialized Allez Triple model road bike .

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Specialized Allez

 

It’s a complete contrast to the last few bikes I have been using for whatever cycling activities I do .

 

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G.E.R Lomas

One of the strange things is that its only a 52cm sized frame yet it doesn’t feel too compact or small for me , which is a surprise as I normally ride a frame in the 56 – 60cm sized area . Admittedly I have the saddle set at the same 39” from the floor measurement and the bars at approximately 36” from the floor .

 

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Specialized Allez Triple

It is fitted with a Shimano 2300 gear set which works very nicely in my opinion , ok others might say it’s a bit clunky in operation compared to the latest versions of 105 and Ultrega but I am not complaining about it . The modern unbranded brake set pull the bike up swiftly although a bit noisy in operation.  I have put this down to the pads hardening up after sitting hardly unused for the last 6 years having covered less than 70 miles from new , so these are due for replacement once the new ones I have ordered arrive .

 

The Alex S500 rimmed wheels run nice and smooth on the unbranded hubs they are laced to and the Specialized Mondo sport 700 x 23c tyres seem to roll along the tarmac well without any undue noise . Not sure if I fancy riding on these on wet or damp roads as they are pure slick tread type .

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Specialized Allez Triple

 

The one thing that always puts me off newer style bikes compared to the older ones I normally ride is the tube joints. On my normal retro rides these are encased in nice frame lugs and if I am really lucky they are ornately cut away whereas on modern bikes the welds are not hidden. Some makers seem to get them nice and smooth whilst others are less so. In all fairness the ones on this bike are not too bad at all .I am always amazed at what shape profile down tube and cross tube are on the more modern bikes compared to the traditional old round ones .

 

The Aluminium frame set and carbon bladed front forks give a nice smooth ride without being too harsh when riding along the smooth roads we have in my local area !!!

 

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Specialized Allez Triple

Overall I have found this bike a very nice machine to ride on the short distances I have covered , if it was a keeper I might find myself replacing the standard stem for one slightly longer that has a slight rise on them . It’s an ideal road bike that I think a lot of cyclists would enjoy riding no matter what they used it for .

Singled out

On Monday and Tuesday this week I reunited myself with my single speed Pollard and it made me realise again why people like single speed bikes .

 

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Pollard Single Speed

It has also made me think that I need to get my early 1970’s Woodrup track frame out of the loft and get it built up soon . It’s been sat in our loft space since being refinished earlier in the year so frame wise it’s all ready to go . My plan was always to build this up with a fixed gear and this has not changed . I have a 42 toothed crankset ready to be fitted along with the original Campagnola Pista bottom bracket that I removed from the frame when it went away for refinishing .

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Woodrup

 

I have a donor rear hub that is currently laced on to a sprint rim and I also have a clincher rim to replace it so I will need to get that built up. Unfortunately I don’t have a matching front wheel so I will run odd wheels but both will be 700c size . When the frame was refinished I had the original rear brake bridge replaced with one that allows me to fit a brake caliper so at least now I can fit front and rear brake calipers .

 

Once this is built up it will mean that I have 3 single speed bikes in my fleet as I also have a Lee Cooper framed one and with the possibility of another Lee Cooper frame due soon .

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This will be my second dabble into riding fixed gear the first was a few years ago , so a few short test rides will be required to get me in to the swing of things before I go blazing off into the sunset on it .

My 4th And Latest Ian May

My latest Ian May bike arrived about 6 – 7 weeks ago and once I had given it a mechanical overhaul I started using it , first of all for short journeys just to make sure all was ok after doing a lot of work . Once I was confident and had made any minor adjustments that were needed I started to use it on some 10 – 15 miles loops , after doing these a few times it became my main bike .

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Ian May 4th

I was attracted to it once I saw the initial advert by the seat cluster arrangement and the close clearance look of the frame. Once it arrived with me I could see that this certainly should be a nice quality machine as nobody goes to the effort of making a frame up with Campagnola front and rear drop outs never mind that seat cluster arrangement and the profile of the front forks which I hadn’t noticed at first .

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Ian May 4th

The frame number shows that it’s not an Ian May made frame according to the normal numbering system he looks to have used . My initial thoughts were of it being an early 1990’s frame but I soon realized it’s actually a bit older as it has standard nut type brake caliper mounting points and a 126mm rear dropout measurement .

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Ian May 4th

The paintwork is not great and has quite a lot of patina and slight rusting , but not enough to warrant a refinish in my mind . Once I started covering some miles on this bike it started to grow on me a lot . I could not state a single reason why but as an overall product it certainly has made an impression on me . The quality of the components used are nothing special but they all fit and provide a great bike to ride in my mind .

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Ian May 4th

I can only presume this was a frameset that was either bought in for a special customer order or perhaps an Ian May customer had it refinished along with some Ian May decals applied at the same time . It’s a great shame the bike’s history is not documented and passed from owner to owner .

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Ian May 4th

This forthcoming weekend should see this bike having all of my personal bits removed and put up for sale , which i might regret at some point in the future …. But you can’t keep them all can you .

Cycling Buddies

So do all of your cycling buddies match your image ?

 

There are certain cyclists who will only ride with a group of other like minded and equipped  cyclists . And these normally all ride individual bikes that a lot of people earn in a working week or two .

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I see quite a few of these groups when I am out and about and the vast majority of them are all wearing the same colour and style cycling tops and jackets .

 

These groups are not keen on outsiders joining who don’t follow suit but then would you want to join up with them ?

I often feel like turning up for one of these rides on one of my old retro steel bikes just for the shear fun of it and to see the look on their faces .

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Raleigh Roadster

I am more than happy cycling either by myself or with somebody else , and what they are wearing or riding does not worry me in the least , as long as they are happy that’s all that matters . As the way I see it no matter what you ride or wear it’s not going to make a huge difference to your cycling .

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It’s strange but the last few rides I have done have been in the company of a very like minded person, it’s quite spooky but we even have very similar bikes and wear similar clothing .

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