This week, Lisa's Mum was very excited to get a genuine letter in her mailbox! We all had scones to celebrate. Please keep them coming... just between you and me, Lisa's Mum needs all the mail she can get.
Dear Lisa’s Mum,
I’ve heard that you are a font of wisdom on legs and international cycling events. So I am writing to you to ask for some advice about bikes. I fancy myself as a jack-of-most-trades athlete. I can run, swim, bowl, kick and shoot….and I can ride. Boy can I ride.
So when it comes to buying a new bike, the decision is really important. I don’t want some run-of-the-mill bike which try-hard road warriors are riding. I want something that will really set me and my awesome skills apart.
What should I look for? Where should I go? And who are the people really in the know?
Ego (is not a dirty word)
To start with, let me just say how happy I was to receive your letter. There is nothing that gladdens my heart more than the thought of a gentleman like yourself joining the cycling community. My local bike shop mechanic coincidentally also needs a new car and a holiday to Bali, so I think he will be similarly pleased to hear of your desire to have the very best.
I have given great thought to your needs and the word that keeps coming to my mind is: hand made. Preferably by someone European, but from one of the nice European countries. My great friend Spiro knows someone whose uncle once played cards with the nephew of Eddie Merckx. This man makes beautiful bikes, which he crafts by candlelight in the basement of his tomato canning factory. He only works on his bikes on Saturday and Sunday mornings so that the frames are conditioned to perform on weekends, and when his birthday falls on a Saturday or Sunday he works anyway, and his tears fall on the frame and add a lovely gloss to the paintwork. And for an extra $1,000, he will give you 12 cogs at the back and etch 'even superer record' onto all the parts.
Not everyone can afford a bike like this, Ego, which makes it all the more important to have one. It may cost a bit, but like a wedding ring, you should really spend at least 2 months' salary to get the bike of your dreams.
Other things that are important in a new bike include knowing the weight of all its parts. Perhaps you can ask your friendly bike mechanic to provide a spreadsheet listing the weight and dimensions of every component. He will also be able to advise whether any part of your bike is available anywhere else in Australia (of course, the answer you are looking for is NO). The spreadsheet is also good opportunity to tailor your bike according to your needs. For example, if you will only be riding your bike once a week to the cafe, I would recommend you only purchase titanium bolts rather than the ivory ones, which I find durable but expensive. If you are planning to ride lots, it may be worth investing in wheels made from 2m x 2m blocks of carbon, which are chiselled down to create a single wheel. I find these wheels provide excellent stiffness when compared to lesser models made from more than one piece of carbon.
Good luck Ego! I look forward to purchasing your new bike off Ebay some day at a gloriously discounted price.