The Highcliff Loop in early April was the turning point for me as a cyclist. Up to that ride, I had been debating the ins and outs of buying a second hand bike. On one hand, I wanted a lighter bike that I can use for fast, long distance rides and one that wouldn’t break the bank. On the other, it was another large object that will take up space and make getting home at the end of the university year a lot harder. I can barely fit one bike in the car with all my junk, two bikes would be impossible unless I somehow persuaded my parents to get a tow thing for the bike rack on the new car.
I rode my Thorn on the Highcliff ride with a guy I frequently go cycling with from work. He was noticeably faster and though he was happy keeping pace with me, I did notice the longing glances towards the Wiggle Sportive riders that we passed on our route. His bike was a Planet X London Road, and was used for most of his summer cycling due to its light yet pretty sturdy frame and its reputation for being the perfect ‘do-it-all’ bike.
During the ride up to Sopley and around through Bransgore I started enjoying the ride a lot more, there is a certain sense of freedom in cycling that you can’t get from backpacking or my other hobbies. Being able to soar through the country side with a few likeminded chaps and comparing your rides afterwards with Strava is a rewarding feeling. It was that feeling that finally persuaded me to split open the bank and get a brand new expensive bike. My cycling companion had sung the praises of the London Road bike and so my mind was made up. I was going to get a Planet X London Road bike that very week.
Over the week I talked to the other cyclists at work and figured out I needed a medium frame and 110mm stem should do it. I ordered the bike pretty fast and started doing longer rides very quickly after that.