Monday, 27 October 2014

#Coffeeneuring 2014: Ride 3

Destination: Harpers, Half Moon Lane, Pepperstock, Nr. Slip End, Bedfordshire LU1 4LL
Date:  Sunday, 26 October 2014
Hot drink of choice:  Cappuccino
Total mileage:  11.5km
Bicycle:  Lorelei the Puch Princess

Almost exactly a year ago, I used a new-bike-shake-down ride for coffeeneuring.... or a coffeeneuring ride as a shake-down. Here I am, doing that again. 

This past Sunday, I wanted to check out the new Harpers Food Hall and Cafe the other side of Slip End. Harpers are a family run business going back to just after WWII. They started out basically as butchers, gradually expanding into a range of premium meats and even meat-based ready meals. For decades, they were in Studham, not too far to the west of us, but last year they refurbished an abandoned and delapidated old pub as a spacious "show room" for their wares, with a meat counter, cafe and function rooms. 

In any case, this was a perfect excuse to get away from the books (finally finishing my law degree) and see how the recent re-build has changed Lorelei. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

#Coffeeneuring 2014: Ride 2

Happiness is a rich smooth cappuccino
(with soy milk for my friend Grace)

Destination:  Look Mum No Hands!, Old Street, London
Date:  Saturday, 18 October 2014
Hot drink of choice:  Cappuccino
Total mileage: 56.4km
Bicycle:  Lucy the Brompton

This was our friend Andy's 40th Birthday Ride. 

Some of you may know Andy: he rode London-Edinburgh-London in 2009 and out of that came an amazing little book called Barring Mechanicals. Andy is a lovely guy: gentle and unassuming and terrifically funny. He's also something of an IT whiz. This past year his job has meant he's basically been living in a hotel in New York, writing and fixing code 22 hours a day. So his wife knew exactly what he'd want when he came home: a pootle on his bike with a bunch of friends, ending with CAKE at London's iconic bicycle cafe/bar/workshop, Look Mum No Hands!

So that's what he got. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

#Coffeeneuring 2014: Ride 1

Destination:  Jake's Cafe, Woodside Animal Farm, Woodside Road, LU1 4DG
Date:  Sunday, 5 October 2014
Hot drink of choice:  Cappuccino
Total mileage:  7km
Bicycle:  Riley the Enigma

Today was all about easing back into cycling, three weeks after my medial glute muscles staged a mutiny, causing all sorts of havoc for my knees -- as if they aren't Grumpy enough all on their own! And then I had a 24-hour vomitting bug on Thursday/Friday. So all in all, I have felt a little fragile but determined to get on my bike for no good reason other than 'just because', not because I had to get to anywhere. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What Determines "Ride Quality"?

Bicycle frame as architecture

I started writing this post nearly 18 months ago, trying to make sense of what makes a bicycle comfortable to ride. At the time, the particulars of geometry fascinated me. Later that year, my drive to find a bike that would let me ride longer and further without pain led me to having a custom titanium touring frame designed and built, and then a complete bespoke bicycle built up around that. 

After a year with the custom titanium bicycle, I have found myself wondering how much of my satisfaction with this bike is the result of the geometry (and size/shape/proportion) and how much is down to frame material (and tubeset). Would a steel frame made to exactly the same plan have done the job just as well as titanium has? 

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