Prelude: Running the bike in. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

May 31, 2013

Prelude: Running the bike in.

Joy at last. My new bike arrived at the bikeshop and proprietor Tom assembled it ready for collection at six PM. It felt a little wobbly that first ride around the carpeted bikeshop partly because it's a long time since I've ridden a dropped-handle-bar bike. While turning Is hoping I wouldn't lose my balance and fall into the display-bikes.

Out for a ride.
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But after the first circuit of the bikeshop, I'd mastered the Galaxy and after settling up, I rode out the door and confidently maneuvered Galaxy through Friday afternoon traffic. I headed out of town on her for a short run through quiet country lanes and instantly found that it sprung forward when pedalled hard, then cornered like a high speed train. Thence I turned towards home pleased with the bike's performance.

British Steel.
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The handle-bars gave me a range of comfortable riding positions, down to riding in the low drops on the last fast stretch home, feeling like a Tour de France rider riding to a sure lone-stage victory with the peloton not far behind, closing the gap.

May morning in Clarkill.
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It's now Saturday afternoon and I jot down reflections on a first day ride with the Galaxy. It was a perfect day for riding; a blue sky sunny May morning which became a warm sticky afternoon, a rarity this past year; and so, a chance to take lots of photos of a landscape normally clouded over and shadow-less. Indeed I spent more time stopped taking photos than riding. Much of the time I play around with the camera, looking at the menu and trying different effects. In strong sunshine I find the best way of avoiding overexposure and white-out skies, is to turn the mode dial to M, full manual, and sample snap with a shutter speed I think is right; then check the result using the play-back switched to view-finder. If it is too dark for example, I set the shutter to a slower speed and shoot again and continue shooting and viewing until I get it right. I like to get a balance of soft colour reproduction and tone and I like too a little sun glint to show the nature of the day.

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Crossroads.
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Backaderry.
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Gorse.
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The road along the pine plantation.
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To a tee.
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Oldtimer.
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All most there.
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She has her mother's eyes and ears, don't you think?
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I got off for a photograph.
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By the interpetation board.
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Looking south towards the Mourne Mountains.
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Slieve Croob top.
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Traditional Country Down farmhouse.
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From home near sea-level, the ride took me to the summit of Slieve Croob; a mountain geographically in the centre of Country Down, and although only 540 metres altitude, is a lone monster seen from a long way off in all directions. I approached it from the south on small single-track roads which wound their way over minor hills.

There wasn't any drama on the road and apart from a wave from the occasional racing cyclist I met and passing tractors which took up most of the road, there wasn't any human interaction, accept for two motor bikers on the mountaintop who handed me a smart-phone so I could photograph them taking in the view.

The Galaxy has narrow tyres and I've only ridden mountainbikes for the past fifteen years, so I lose the cushion effect of fat-tyres; but again, the double butted steel frame is like a spring under me, doing much to smooth out the lumpy uneven back-roads. It surely is a world of difference from the triple butted aluminum mountainbike at home. Without fat-tyres and suspension forks the mountainbike'd be too harsh on the hands and backside.

The lively frame is really evident on the way up, and with an un-limited selection of gears I can hold a smooth spinning cadence. The final switch-back to the mountaintop was close to one in four gradient and that I confidently scaled.

The touring frame geometry together with a generous fork-rake meant I'd confidences descending again. The two rear panniers I loaded up with sleeping-bag, tent and a few other items, in all four kilogrammes a piece, so I'd a bit of weight pushing me downhill. I wonder what the bike'll feel like descending with thirty kilos on the back. Again, having got used to the instant locking effect of vee and disc-brakes, the cantilever brakes take a bit of getting used to. They're a soft stop. Another point is the braking-surface of the rim, I'm hoping it'll be a good many tours before the rim wears down and needs replacing. Of course this isn't an issue with discs.

As soon as I arrived home I loaded the photos to the computer, then while editing, the computer cursor began to jump between arrow and the spinning blue loading icon. When with much patients I got the photo-file opened, the photos would flick through rapidly in succession, making it impossible to edit. Though later after a rest and reboot, it was working OK.

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