Like dogs, bikes can tell you a lot about their owner. Women racers are often an emotional bunch, and not surprisingly can sometimes develop quite a wo-man – machine bond. Some girls have names for their bikes, others have an excessive penchant for Pink. I have neither of these but have been reacquainting myself with my racing machine this week with much appreciation for its special features. As you will see, I am no tech-head, so here is the anti-dote to your high tech bike review..
This is ‘the Magnum’. Someone once cruelly joked that Magnums were for the beach, not for bike racing, but I remain unaffected by this kind of bike snobbery. It melts off me like a choc ice on a hot day. Top end, it is not. But this bike is the first one I bought for myself in 2006 which makes it kind of special. Made of the finest Taiwanese aluminium, this frame was bought from Ruxley cycles, a long since closed down bike shop in St Mary Cray. Classy.
Its hard to tell from this picture, but there is a dent in the top tube received when my friend Tom bundled it on his bike rack as we set off for an Alpine trip when I was not long back in the saddle. I was a bit annoyed at the time, but the trip was so much fun I have forgiven him.
Also you can see here the ‘double bottle cage phenomenon’. This may not seem much of a feature, but I have been training on my adapted cross bike with no bottle cages, so believe me, I am excited, and much better hydrated.
Here you see various elements of the Campag record groupset, circa 2006, the last classic design before the strange ‘wavy’ look of the more recent models. I really like this stuff for several reasons.
Firstly, it offers me the following performance advantages:
- The brakes work, allowing me to actually stop at junctions rather than just slow down.
- The gears work too, even the first time you press the lever.
Aesthetically this silver stuff is a bit of a retro nod to the shiny bike parts of my youth, when in the 90’s everything was chrome and Campag delta brakes were the business. When I got this bike together everything was carbon-look black, but I chose a lighter-look, even without a lighter bike!
One final reason for my attachment to this group set is that it was a Christmas present from my partner Kevin. I thought he hadn’t bothered to get me anything and then he mysteriously handed me a brightly coloured box and what looked like a take away pizza. Since I don’t get invited to many weddings and don’t eat pizza, I thought he was off his rocker. As it turned out he had been trawling e bay for weeks for all the parts and the pizza was in fact a chain set and the rest of the group set was in the hat box. For once I was speechless.
I am not sure if Cinelli still make these handlebars. They are quite clever as they are narrow at the top and wider on the drops. Having found 38cm bars too narrow at the bottom, this 38/40 combo gives me the best of both worlds, with an aerodynamic tuck on the hoods and more control/power on the drops. They are called ‘Little Wings’ and aimed at the female market, which personally I think is a little misguided as they sound more like a sanitary towel than a cutting edge handlebar design. However, here they are sporting my spanking new white handlebar tape, proving that no expense has been spared in upgrading my equipment for this Spring/Summer season of racing.
Most important of all, the Magnum is (almost) colour co-ordinated with the Look Mum Jersey, and that’s the main thing. Anyone else like to introduce their machine…?