New bike: Steel is real

The expression ‘good things come to those who wait’, must surely have been invented by somebody first riding their long-awaited, handmade, steel frame bicycle. It had been almost six months since I travelled up to Mercian Cycles in Derby and ordered a new bike. The bespoke frame was then built by skilled craftsmen in their small workshop, and no amount of pestering phone calls from me could do anything to speed up the process. I made quite a few.  On the plus side, during the long wait I managed to save enough extra cash to upgrade from Campagnolo Veloce to the Athena groupset.

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The new machine

A week ago I received a phone call to say the bike was ready for collection and I quickly shuffled my diary to create a window to collect it. Upon arrival, I was delighted to see the end result. The attention to detail in the frame and the colours of the paintwork were magnificent. And the groupset, wheels and finishing kit all seem to work in harmony to give it a fine, classic look. The saddle was my own – a Christmas gift from my wife (which indicates how long I’ve been waiting to ride this bike)

Nitto handlebars

Nitto handlebars

I took it for a ride straight out the shop and was immediately awestruck by the smoothness of the ride in comparison to my bone-jarring aluminium and carbon bikes. The bike will be used as my daily commuter and loaded up with panniers so comfort is a priority over speed.

Classic head badge

Classic head badge

The next day I took it for its first proper ride. Unfortunately it decided to rain heavily, soaking the leather bar tape and splattering foul muck all over the paintwork. But this didn’t matter – it may be a beautiful, objet d’art but I didn’t buy it to hang on a wall and admire it, this bike is for riding and enjoying. There’ll be plenty more muck and rain coming its way.

Rain-soaked bars - not the last time

Rain-soaked bar tape – not for the last time

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