Saturday, 5 May 2007

Fixies? Oh ... they're so like last year! What you need is a 'bent!

During my first commute for months on my Condor Pista EOM Fixie from Stoneleigh to Blackfriars a month ago, a twinge in my lower back turned into a bulged/slipped disc (L4/L5) - total agony - weeks off work - nightmare.

This Wednesday I bumped into another colleague who has had (upper) disc problems who has just bought a HPV Spirit from Bikefix. I was totally gobsmacked when I saw the 'bent in the office - yes I knew they existed - but hadn't really thought about owning one - suddenly (and after some googling) I could see that this could be an excellent bike which would not wreck my back! And believe me I need to get off the train and onto a bike again.

So... Thursday / yesterday, got the tube to Holborn - an hour later had wobbled down the street on a HPV Spirit THEN on a Grasshopper! Scary as hell but hmm... nice too. (Stuart has a pretty hands-off attitude on the demoing but was very friendly and helpful)

Friday afternoon went to Dulwich Village Park where I met the very helpful Oliver at londonrecumbents who I'd arranged a demo of a Challenge Mistral with.

Another nervous start (this time held upright by running Oliver!) but after a couple of laps of park - really enjoyed myself.

I must say it fills me with trepidation - I'm not a natural balancer - e.g. I've never been able to cycle with no hands! but a trike looks just too wide for filtering and I believe in taking the plunge rather than dipping a toe in...

3 days from knowing nothing - to now knowing next to nothing but seriously considering a Challenge Mistral Deluxe with ASS, 3x9 (SRAM Hub + back derailleur) Gears. Keep empty derailleur post at front for lights etc.

I liked the grass hopper but thought its a bit aggressive/sporty for my commute - so was looking at HPV StreetMachine GTe - but I think I've fallen in love with the looks of the Mistral and the HPV just looks like too much metal at the back now!

Probably going to double check with my Physio that this is not a "Really Bad Idea (tm)" but already day dreaming about multi-day tour up to Peak District (having never done more than 5 hour Oxford->Cambridge ride) :)