Something's wrong: I'm satisfied with my bike
The satisfaction is not the one I'm tempted by whenever I cycle over a busy motorway. After all, I'm sometimes down there on the road myself and besides, this is the movement of people and goods that keeps the wheels turning, so to speak. Most of the things society now relies on. So I'm just thankful not to be amongst it at this particular moment.
It's my bike: a 2008 Ridgeback Panorama steel framed tourer. Ever since I bought it this bike has been a 'project' – work in progress with a niggling feeling there are things that must be improved, upgraded. In keeping with this philosophy I've fitted a Cateye TL-LD1100 LED rear light to replace the one I used the previous couple of winters. Someone on the CTC forums described this light as 'awesome' and it is.
I fitted the light and set off to cycle my 20-mile loop just as it began to go dark – around 4.15 in the afternoon at this time of year. I cycle down through town and turn into an avenue towards the country. By four thirty I cannot see my bike. The front light illuminates the road ahead and behind me if I glance under the saddle is the red glow of the new Cateye blinking backwards. I don't even hear the bike. For some reason my mini pump handle has finally stopped rattling and there is only a light swish of tyres on the tarmac. I hear a bird squawking somewhere in the wind – a crow maybe (I know nothing about birds). The blackened outline of trees and hills moves against the deep grey of the night sky. Here, it is never actually dark. In the distance the towns of Blackburn and Preston glow on the underside of the cloud cover and I feel spots of rain on my face. A car blazes by occasionally, otherwise I'm on my own except for my bike. I cross over the motorway and stop to take the photo. The red light is flashing a message.
Does a bicycle communicate with its owner? If so, my Ridgeback tourer is saying: "Enough!" It's true – nothing more can improve it. Improvements since June 2008:
- Lighter, shorter stem
- Brooks B17 titanium saddle
- Better rims with Deore XT hubs and Swiss DT Alpine spokes
- Vittoria Cross XN Pro tyres
- Shimano HG 93 chain(s)
- Deore XT crankset
- Magnesium pedals with titanium spindles
- Shorter brake straddle wires
- Tubus Tara front rack
- Race Rocket mini pump
- Hope Vision 1 LED front light
- Cateye TL-LD1100 LED rear light
My other bike is still work-in-progress: I'm fitting hydraulic disc brakes to replace the cable ones and over Christmas I'll build some better wheels. Then there's the crankset and pedals, and maybe the saddle and seat post to think about. But my Ridgeback is now hunky dory and I think it was this ride in the darkness that helped me realise how, with the Cateye light, no further upgrades are required. The bike is perfect for my needs and I must get used to not browsing Wiggle for what it requires next.