I sold my Bike Friday Superpro. It was a great bike for travel and smooth roads which served me well for six years. But it’s more suited for less clumsy riders. For me, it’s big wheels from now on. I bought a Specialized Sirrus expert carbon with the proceeds. This has 700C wheels (about 28″) instead of the 451 wheels (20″) on the Friday. And it’s specifically designed for rough roads.
This is my first bike with a carbon fiber frame. I did run into one odd quirk. The first long ride I went on, there was a lot of a rattling which sounded like something loose inside the frame. I didn’t notice it on my test ride nor did the folks at my shop. I tried taking the seat out and shaking the bike upside down but nothing came out, it turns out the seat tube is sealed from the other tubes on this frame. So I took the bike back in and the mechanic said “oh yeah, I’ve only seen this a couple of times before. There was probably a piece of the mold jammed in the tubing which has come loose”. He had to remove the forks to get to it, and voila, this fell out:
Problem solved! And now I have a souvenir to go along with the bike.
Specialized pioneered the “plush” road bike category with their Roubaix model several years ago, inspired by the rough cobblestone roads of the legendary Paris-Roubaix road race, nicknamed “the hell of the north”.
A rider on the cobblestones in Paris-Roubaix on a nice day:
And another section, the Arenberg forest, on a not-so-nice day:
Specialized engineers designed a bike just for these conditions which absorbs vibrations well. It was found this was not just a comfort issue, riders can actually perform better on rough roads with a smoother ride. The commercial version of this bike, the Roubaix, went on to become a success. My bike, the Sirrus, is very similar to the Roubaix but with flat handlebars instead of drop bars, which is a more comfortable setup for me.
I took the new bike out on some rougher country roads today to try it out. First I paid homage to the designers by riding by Specialized’s headquarters at the south end of Morgan Hill.
Then it was west up into the hills. Some nice country and horses on Sycamore road on the way:
I road past the sight of my collarbone-breaking-crash. Here is the pothole that was my undoing. Actually it wasn’t a pothole, just a rough edge of the road:
I intentionally rode over this section again today, and the new bike sailed right over it. Didn’t even rattle my fillings. This gives me confidence I’m now less crash-prone.
Down the road is the Machado school, a one-room school house from 1895, now used for special classes and events. A dance class was going on today.
A little further along, the start of Paradise Valley, an unincorporated part of our county west of Morgan Hill:
A little further along are the orchards of Ward’s Oak Glen farm, also established 1895:
The road is Oak Glen Ave, aptly named, there are a lot of beautiful specimens of California Oaks along it. It is a favorite road of mine, especially now that I don’t bounce up and down so much on it’s sections of cracked pavement.
I toodled along down nice country roads like this for a couple of hours. I love how the new bike rides. I have to get as many rides like these in as I can the next couple of weeks until my shoulder surgery. Then it will be back to the indoor trainer. I got some good tips from friends on that. The most important is to have a tv or computer monitor to help pass the time. I’ll just use my laptop on a table. There are a ton of online bike workouts on youtube including many from the good folks at Global Cycling Network in the UK. I’ll give them a try.