Monday, 29 September 2014


Yep, its been a while and this blog has been neglected. This summer has been something of a blur. Life happens when you make plans, and that’s what happened these past few months. Plenty of life. My annual pilgrimage to Whistler had to be cancelled so the poor Glory has been left somewhat impotent this year. Still, the dirt and jumps are patient and will be waiting for me next season. I’ve also sold the Orange hardtail commuter brute in favour of a spindly, sleek road bike. I spend most of my eves in Fairfax now and a spirited 1:10 commute by bike (which I’m aiming to get under the 1 hour mark… eventually) is preferable to sitting in traffic each day. I’m also retiring the Nomad. More on that another time, but fear not – I’ve not gone completely over to the dork side. Mountain biking is my first love and the Nomad’s successor will be a steed worthy of taking its place. Exciting times are ahead.

In the past I have been somewhat…. unkind about road riding. It never really appealed when compared to the many thrills and spills of riding knobblies over singletrack. All I saw was the dull grind up tarmac roads for the reward of coasting down more tarmac roads. Nice views – yes, but not the same adrenaline charged, technically challenging, flow finding fun that riding a mountain bike induces. When I chose my road bike I did so because it was the best tool employed for a (almost) 40 mile round commute. But when I first threw my leg over its slender frame and set off to work on a brisk late Summer morning, something changed. A switch was flicked.

My weapon of choice is the Giant Defy 1. Hydro sculpted aluminium tubes meet slender carbon blade forks and a nice carbon seat post. With a decent mid range component set and sweet looking graphics, the Defy is definitely easy on the eye and, after an expert fitting from Brian at Big Swingin’ Cycles, easy on the arse too! The terrain might be a little less interesting compared to mountain riding but the joy of feeling immediate forward propulsion from every pedal stroke is awesome. The acceleration is something I’ve never experienced on dirt and is certainly grin inducing. However the real fun begins on the descents. Climbing on a road bike is completely different to MTB climbing. Its actually very satisfying to feel the benefits of a disciplined cadence and good breathing transfer into a swift, efficient climbing rate. Once you crest the climb, catch your breath and admire the view its time to see what you’re made of on the backside slope. 

Riding on super skinny tires at speeds tipping 40mph on the same terrain occupied by cars is an exercise in fear control, bike handling skills and rider commitment. Never before has choosing a good corner line and leaning the bike been so important. Failure to commit and nervousness with the brakes can lead to hideous disaster. Weighting a bike than weighs less than 20lbs at such speed feels like riding on a knife edge but its amazing and beautiful to feel nothing but smooth speed and the wind in your face as you hunker down into the drops and mix it with the traffic.

I can’t see road biking replacing my primary love of threading chunkier bikes through the rocks and trees just yet. But it feels good to have discovered a new area of cycling that I feel a real passion and enthusiasm for. It helps that the Defy is not only beautiful, but extremely practical. Step foot outside the front door, and you’re on a ride. I love that. And I’m excited to reap the fitness benefits for my mountain bike rides. I won’t be changing the name of this blog just yet, but I’ll happily document my roadie adventures in the meantime.