When I first bought my Specialised Roubaix road bike the satin black finish was one of the first onto the market and when I saw it in the flesh I was so excited. Everything about the bike looked slick, fast, purposeful and even dare I admit it a bit “sexy”. I couldn’t wait to ride it, to be seen on it and to talk about it. It took me back to Christmas day in 1980 when as a 10 year old I would rip open newspaper carefully wrapped around the second hand bike that lay underneath it – still smelling of paint from where my dad had re-sprayed it in the garage the night before. Very different times indeed, but both as satisfying as each other.
Roll on 36 years and this time I am staring at a slick carbon frame with beautiful light DT Swiss Wheels and Shimano Ultegra Groupset that when combined together simply said “cool”.
Now in its fourth year of ownership, I lost that connection with my bike and it upsets me. I ride it more often, it now takes me further and faster than I have ever been before and it has certainly taken me higher. But why doesn’t it quite give me that love back? I went back to the original reviews of the bike to rekindle the romance and that’s when I realised where I was going wrong..
My love of shopping had taken me far too far with my bike accessory purchases. In the original bike I am staring at the beautiful frame, wheels and group-set because other than the handlebars and seat there wasn’t a lot else to look at! No bike pump, no bottle cages, Garmin holder, saddle bag, front light, back light, Ass-saver and at times even a Go-Pro camera. I had destroyed my bike with bling in my quest to ride prepared, safely and refreshed.
So what’s the answer? Which of these accessories can I most do without. I hate riding with things in my back pockets and I certainly don’t want to be riding without a water bottle, let alone lights on those foggy Saturday mornings – even in Summer. No wonder professionals look so bloody good on their bikes, they’ve got a spare one in a car alongside them at any moment and those that haven’t have a team mate prepared to give them theirs. I’ll lend an innertube to a mate any day of the week, but they won’t lend me their bike if I get a puncture and they certainly won’t ride back to get me a water bottle when I am thirsty.
I’ve managed to turn this into a positive. I spend a lot of my time with bike envy and it’s mainly triggered by the various cycling magazines that come through my letterbox. The latest Canyon, a Colnago C60 or even another Specialized – perhaps even the S-Works should that lottery win come my way sooner rather than never. Now when I look at these bikes I don’t get quite so jealous of the people that do own them, instead I remind myself that my Roubaix looks like those bikes, it’s just older, a bit heavier and lacking in disc brakes or Di2 – neither of which I have had to miss. And now when I ride my bike I don’t think about the fact that I am riding a 4 year old Specialized Roubaix Comp, but a bike. I am riding a great road bike that feels great, rides smoothly and regardless of however many miles my lungs and legs can muster, never lets me down and always feels ready for a few more miles….even if I don’t.