Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Week 2 with the Thorn Audax Mk3

Audrey the Audax and I are getting to know each other quite well nowadays.  I guess we're still on our honeymoon and yet there have been a few "words" between us (mainly me muttering about her performance).

With my excellent Cateye Strada wireless computer I know we've covered 95 miles in the last week. That was a birthday present from my wife.  She said I could have anything for my new bike, gizmo wise.  That had me thinking of  whether to go for GPS, heart rate monitors etc.  In the end my choice was something more down-to-earth and straightforward.  Part of this was nor knowing quite what I wanted and perhaps the best would be just speed with distance functions.  Too many other things would have me taking my eyes off the road too much.

Most our miles has been commuting to work - a round trip of about 25 miles from one town to another via A roads.  Each ride has been different and compelling.  Here's how it went:

Monday morning.  We finished reading "Ee By Gum Lord", ready for me to return to my colleague Sonia at work.  It were reet grande.  Almost every morning at home we have a bible reading around the breakfast table.  The ride itself was fast, quite warm and very wet.  In fact I didn't care after a while how awful the weather was as I was enjoying it so much.  That gave rise to those feelings of being unbeatable and just didn't care how bad the conditions got or about the amount of spray being generated by passing trucks.

It was an experience that was more than just a bike ride to my office.  It was an adventure that is hard to describe and one which none of my colleagues would ever understand, though some might come close.

Audrey was going great, no issues.  Just fast responsive and comfortable, even with the new Brooks B17 saddle.

I'm fortunate enough to have an office for myself in a largely open plan building.  That made me feel OK about draping my wet socks over the radiators.  I only had one meeting during the morning and that was with a partially sighted colleague who probably wouldn't notice my socks!

Going home, the weather was damp and the ride was reasonably brisk with no headwind.  Then to my complete surprise I realised I had a puncture!  This is not the first puncture I've had with Pasela Tour Guard tyres and I wonder if they're really as good as we're led to believe.  Hard to measure something like puncture resistance.  As I was mercifully just 1 mile from home, I tried pumping the tyre to see about riding home..  Within 100 yards the rim was starting to bump along the ground.  Audrey and I walked home, had tea, fixed the puncture.

Tuesday morning
A beautiful clear sunny day and again a brisk ride.  Starting to get into the pattern the journey taking 45-50 minutes (barely any slower than it takes in the car).  The day actually started with going to the Dentist for a check-up, which I decided to take Doreen the Dawes for the ride into town.  As Audrey the Audax is about 2 inches shorter, I could see why there is such different handling.

I felt so aware of my surroundings and how there was so much I would miss if I was in the car.  I go down hill as I approach my office and as I slowed there was an awful banging from the back wheel.  What could it be, had I caused a problem in fixing the puncture last night?  It turned out to be a small blob of metal that somehow had wedged itself into the wear indicator grove of the rim.  At home it was prised out with a screwdriver.  It seems a strange thing to happen, probably totally unrepeatable.

Wednesday morning
A crisp cold frosty morning which had me riding really gingerly until I reached the main roads.  We have a friend, Mike McK living nearby and I said "hi" as I passed him scraping the windows of his car.  He couldn't quite believe anyone would be on two wheels until he realised it was me!

Oh, a colleague of mine, who is a bit of a cyclist (he has a cheap mountain bike that occasionally comes in) got into a conversation about Audrey the Audax.  Although he's a bit of an outdoor type and has a loaded looking motorbike and a coupe car, he was gobsmacked at the cost, even though I played the true costs down.

As this was the forth successive day I have cycled, I felt my legs were getting accustomed to it better and spinning faster and taking the short inclines faster.  Toes and thumbs cold coming home.

A fast, brilliant all-rounder.


  1. Great to see you using your new bike.I bet that Thorn is fantastic for 20m+ commutes
    Can i just say a good thing is to check the tyre pressures every day you use the bike.
    If you have not already got one, buy a track pump.
    You will not regret it.
    I am going out for a ride myself now...cheers.

  2. Yes, it's fantastic, a great bike for commuting amongst other things I reckon.
    I do have a track pump but I agree, I ought to get into the habit of checking the tyres.
    Hope you enjoyed your ride!