Friday, December 3, 2010

Can Pashleys and Road Bikes get on?

Common sense and practical advice from other bike bloggers like Velouria says that when you ride with your partner, make sure you are riding the same kind of bike, so one person isn't at a complete disadvantage if he or she is on a steel-framed upright bike and the other is on a road bike.

I love my Pashley. I enjoy riding her more than my road bike; she's more stable and the hub gears are a dream. My husband, however, adores his road bike and despite me hinting that he might like to test ride a Pashley roadster with its beautiful ride and inherent stability, he won't be tempted.

For most of our rides during the last month, then, I've been on my Penelope Pashley and he's been on his road bike. Even when I'm on my own mixte road bike I have trouble keeping up with him as he's bigger, stronger and rides at a different cadence to me.

But something strange has been happening. I've been keeping up with him. Even overtaking him. On the Pashley.

I'm getting fitter and lighter and stronger, which is marvellous. And I admit a few days ago I got angry. There I was, pedalling fairly swiftly away from our house down our street with - bliss! - newly laid asphalt. How smooth it was! The potholes had gone, and Penelope was almost singing with joy; I was too. Then t'other half pedalled furiously and with a "ner-ner-ner-NER-ner!" overtook me. He just HAS to be in front. Every time. It's a male thing. He might say it's because it's his comfy riding speed, but he seems determined to pass me as early in our rides as possible.

So I got mad and got even. I pedalled furiously too. I caught up, and although my muscles were whingeing and then begging for mercy, hung either beside him or right on his tail as we swept through the park and onto the roads and bike paths. On a couple of the downhill stretches I passed him, with my own "ner-ner-ner-NER-ner!" and two fingers held up as I swept by.

By the time we'd reached the half way point of our usual 30 minute ride, I was pumping. I wasn't blowing too hard, and on the way back managed to stay on his tail up the hill. I usually fall back up the hill. I resort to dropping to second gear, panting and puffing. Well I stayed in third, it nearly killed me, but there was no way I was leaving the rear wheel of that little black road bike.

I checked my watch when we got home, and we'd shaved a couple of minutes off the 30 minute standard. My muscles were quivering, but I felt fantastic and really energised. My husband felt stunned that I kept up.

Sadly the weather has been awful since then; driving rain since the weekend. It wasn't raining this morning - yay! - but we elected for a walk before breakfast rather than a ride as our dog, like us, was exhibiting signs of cabin fever. Aside from which, wet jacaranda petals, which are strewing the street and our favourite bike path right now, are notoriously slippery and I don't feel confident riding on them. We've both nearly slipped over just walking on the wretched things.

Having achieved a modicum of fitness, I need to get out and exercise every day now. I feel uncomfortable if I don't.

So watch out, little black road bike. You won't have the clear road in front of you any more. You can admire the pretty taillight of a Pashley instead.

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