After decades on the bike, a road bike revelation

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man on his Bianchi road bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – After years of demolishing cheap mountain bikes, something beautiful

Part one of a three part series: “I am new to this kind of bike, but I am a lifetime cyclist. I have always been a utility cyclist, a commuting cyclist. I have cycled all my life, had a bike when I was a kid and never stopped having a bike. But, with three small children,   I never used to get much of a charge going out leisure riding .

“Before, I was riding standard mountain bikes from about 1990 onwards. What I usually do is buy a cheap one, ride it into the ground for a couple of years and then buy another cheap one. I wasn’t really that bothered about looking after them too much, really.

“Then a series of things changed in my life about 2010 and I decided to get a road bike for the first time, which is something I had never seen as being very good for commuting. And, of course, within about five minutes of having this bike, I thought, ‘Why didn’t I do this 30 years ago?’.

“Anyway, back then I got a bike, and it was lovely. It was a bargain. It was yellow and looked really nice and so, of course, I got bit really quickly. Suddenly then I realised I had a reason to keep it looking nice. It is all about little things. Like I learned about cleaning a chain. I learned about checking the teeth on your chainwheel. I want the bike to ride well. Looking nice is one thing, but you want the bike to work as well as it can.”

Photographer’s notes: This was my day free and I took advantage of the opportunity to get a ride through Brixton, one of the best London boroughs. I was about to head home when I saw these shoes slip past. Turned the bike and went off in pursuit. And then we started talking and discovered we had a remarkable number of similarities. A love of good bikes, but only at a price that is affordable. Bargain hunting in a sport that is often a bottomless pit. An understanding that legs have to justify the bike, so there are price limits to bikes.

Fortunately, when I stay in London, I am not far from the start point for his velo club. So now I have another project for the next visit.

If you are interested in his club, he rides with New Malden Velo and you can see their location and rides on their website here….

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