Upping the ante is where it is at for 2010. My heroic couplets from last weekend are now cast into shadow, when compared to my attempted-death-by-commute this morning. If you were hunting for a set of circumstances to ensure a proper accident, it’s hard to think of anything more causal than these sick puppies.
Ice and Snow. 23c slick tyres and 100psi. New road bike and dubious battery lights. Zero visibility fog and, oh I don’t know let’s just go with bowel clenching terror should we? An hour earlier than Sunday, a further degree colder and a rider injured from a tripping incident involving a dark room and a black, slumbering mutt.
And in the same way we’ve had proper pre global-warming snow this last two weeks, the fog of this morn was of a type last seen when nefarious Jack was ripping through London. So thick you could chew on it, while waving a hopeful hand in front of a face merely panicked one into believing you’d been struck blind.
I risked catastrophic voltage collapse, with a clumsy grope to high beam, only to see it reflect back at 90% brightness and 0% improved visibility. And what I couldn’t see, I could hear with that horrible crunching sound of slush under tyre. The new mudguards were almost too efficient, with their low tyre rubbing profile delivering forty minutes of finger-on-blackboard aural stabbing.
The bike is fantastic though. Oh it properly is, light, stiff and flighty. Where the Kona would accelerate under spongy protest, the Boardman springs forward rewarding each pedal stroke with a surge onwards. When you hit any incline on the Jake, your options were a right hand ratchet and a long spin or a black-spotted, rivet-ridden, busted-lung sprint praying the gradient gave out before you legs did.
The Boardman isn’t like that. Because it weighs 8ks plus some commuting collateral, and has a BB junction forged from a pineapple hunk of carbon. I found myself shifting down the block and accelerating up hills. This is unheard of, and made me very proud I’d bested something similar last year.
Don’t get me wrong tho – this bike has the potential to hurt you. Because it is so rewarding to crank out maximum power to bring forth the horizon, then soon your aspirations are ruthlessly gaped by your fitness and ability. But even in sub zero temperatures, blinded by the fog and scared of the ice, I glimpsed that road riding might actually offer something other than non motorised commuting.
Lance was wrong. It’s all about the bike.