The first 500 miles - Choosing What's Next - CycleBlaze

July 30, 2023

The first 500 miles

An update to my first impressions

SOMETIME LAST WEEKEND I rode my 500th mile on Serenity.  Having had the bike since last November, you're probably thinking "Why did it take him so long?" and really there's no excuse.  In short, life's gotten in the way.  Nothing bad or untoward has happened, just the usual series of diversions and choices between options A, B, C, D as to how I choose to spend my time.

All that notwithstanding the milestone has been reached and lies now over 100 miles in the rearview mirror.  So, what have I to report?

From the get-go Serenity has been a pleasure to ride.  It's not the lightest bike ever made- far from it.  And the many extra pounds of accessories I've chosen to add haven't helped in that regard, but even so they've improved the experience.

I took it to a club ride a few weeks back, mostly because the ride was led by friends I've not seen in many a moon and I wanted to catch up on the news.  Dave, leading the ride with his wife Julie on their tandem (it was really a tandem club ride but selected single bikes were welcomed, including me), gave it a careful and critical once-over, both while we were on the road and again in the parking lot afterward.

His sensibilities and priorities regarding touring bikes closely match mine, so he was impressed by and in agreement with my choices.  He took a lengthy spin through the parking lot- at my invitation, of course- and noted that despite the weighty back end (no helped by the several pounds of cable lock I had coiled around the rear rack) it gave a smooth ride and rolls superbly.  I couldn't agree more.  He may even decide that he needs one of his own; after all, after having parted with several bikes in his collection he's down to only 23 remaining and none of them is anything like Serenity.

I'm glad I've swapped the OEM saddle for a Brooks Professional model.  I've now put a couple hundred road miles on the Brooks, which I bought used (and therefore already partially broken-in) last winter.  It's very comfortable and worth the extra weight (it's probably a pound heavier than its predecessor).

The shifting is crisp and clean, though I did have to take a quarter turn on the barrel adjuster last week, presumably due to the inevitable and entirely expected / predictable stretch that new cables always seem to have.

The brakes continue to impress and awe me.  I just love them.

The issue I had with spokes going slack in both wheels in the first 50 miles after I got the bike, seems to have been corrected with no sign of recurrence.  (I'm still fortunate to have a good friend who owns a bike shop, and to have had that shop built into the itinerary for the shakedown overnight tour I took last November, so that the issue could be addressed immediately and without fuss.)  The wheels feel solid and, as I mentioned above, go round and round with zeal and enthusiasm.

It fits me like a glove, especially after I replaced the very short OEM stem with a much longer model.  I like a fairly long stretch, so the extra 100mm or so of the longer stem (coupled with a somewhat lower amount of rise) do me just right.

Apart from that one-night overnight carrying a very light load just after Serenity arrived, I can't really report on how it rides and performs on a loaded tour because all the rest of the riding has been of the day-ride variety.  You'll have to wait a while longer for that report to come in though, unless I can make time for a few days of loaded riding before I blast off for a fully-supported privately-organized tour in NE Minnesota in the first half of September.

So there it is: I'm still a very happy camper and fully satisfied with the choices I made and how they are expressed in a superb machine.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 4
Comment on this entry Comment 0