Some bikes you can truly use for just about anything. Still, there’s some lines that shouldn’t be crossed. When you’re considering touring bike vs road bike, you’re thinking about speed vs comfort and handling vs practicality.
But where’s the point when the latest carbon fibre race-bred calorie-counter becomes too tiring to enjoy?
And when should you leave it behind, trusting instead your miles and your backside to a more forgiving, more laid-back ride?
Well, I’m riding a Carrera Virago to Paris for charity and will find out on the way!
The bike’s already proved itself as an excellent climber and surprised me with it’s comfort – ok, some of this has been me adapting to its shape, but overall it’s been surprisingly sure-footed and comfortable for such a light bike.
But first up: What’s the difference between a road bike and a touring bike anyway?
Cyclists of all standards love riding the London 2 Brighton bike ride. As well as being perhaps the UK’s best-known charity ride, it’s a challenging fun sportive in its own right – a celebration of cycling, all the way from the capital to the coast.
And more fool you if you think it’s going to be easy: If your training rides have yet to pass 35 miles, trust me, you’ll be pushed on this one.
Now with the preparation over, the team T-shirts in a box in your hallway and some nerves creeping in, here’s 5 tips to help you on your way on the day.
(Don’t forget a camera and some cash, the pictures will be priceless and you’ll want a pint and a pile of chips at the end)
Getting the Carrera Virago reviewed over 7 months is building up a lot of information. Instead of just talking facts and figures, we’re looking into what it’s like to live with – not just ride on Sundays.
But, we’ve not yet gone into the details that all bike buyers crave: the tech specs.
As carbon bikes go, the Carrera Virago is unique as it’s pretty much the only fully carbon bike under £1000 with such a high spec. Key to this is the Shimano 105 components, which are not usually found till you’ve forked out £200 more.
With a little over a month of the Evolving Cyclist Project gone there’s been much learned, lots eaten, no weight lost but a great start made. Last month I made a plan: Ignore training plans – and so far it’s worked well! For March, I decided all I needed to do was get out more, get the miles going and enjoy every minute.
It’s an approach I’d strongly recommend to anyone buying a road bike or starting to take their cycling more seriously.
But at some point if you’re aiming to get fit, you’ve got to get on it and get riding further and faster – and that’s what’s happening this month.
So here’s 10 things I’ve learned that should help cyclists who are thinking about buying their first road bike.
A lighter bike climbs better as you don’t have as much of it to drag up a hill. But if you’re deciding between buying a road bike or a hybrid, beware: road bikes can hurt you on the hills.
Why? Because you can wave goodbye to low gears, and say hello to burning thighs.
Hybrid bikes are fantastic do-it-all rides: Strong, comfortable and adaptable they are often spec’ed out with mountain bike gearing. Switch to a road bike you swap low gears for high and wave bye, bye to the beloved Megarange that served you so well.
So what does this mean in real terms? And what can you do when you’re buying a road bike to pick one that’ll give you a chance on those climbs?
There’s no easy way to say this, but riding a Carrera Virago for the first time was far from a happy experience. On regular commuter roads it was skittish, and after just 15 minutes I was feeling every divot and granule of road gravel through my wrists. And I nearly crashed it!
Reaching to squeeze the brakes, I couldn’t get them to bite and ended up in the back wheel of a scooter. Upshifts to the big ring took too long and I couldn’t tell if I’d gone up or down a gear on the range at the rear.
Well, the issues weren’t with the bike, but with me. Going from a comfy hybrid to a £1,000 carbon fibre road bike is not straightforward, and I just needed to get the bike set up properly and revise my riding.
- Adventure Sports & Travel Thoughts
- New Adventure Travel Ideas
- Our Experts
- Top 10s
- Travel Gear
- Adventure Sports Insurance: What Does The EHIC Actually Cover?
- Kayaking Challenges: Paddling 1300km in handmade kayaks
- Child-Free Sports: Time to reclaim the wave?
- New Zealand: Spiritual Home of Adventure Sports
- 5 Things Cyclists Never Do
- Kevlar Swiss Socks that Rock!
- Adventure Race Events: Trying the Toughest Challenges on Earth