So, this is the final part of the three-parted on my new Xtracycle setup and covers out-and-about with the bike. I’ve been cycling it for about three weeks now I guess and so far the only problems I’ve had are two punctures and the chain coming off the front cog a couple of times. The chain problems may have been due to leaving the chain a bit loose – I’ve remedied that and just had one ‘off’ recently.The punctures are due to broken glass on the road which just haven’t been cleaned up by the council.
The bike has gotten a lot of attention. At work, one of my colleagues snapped this photo of it to show to someone else
I’ve also been stopped along the road for a chat about the bike with the reaction always being positive and enthusiastic. What is interesting is that the road-racer cyclists I encounter ask ‘why?’ with their main concern being the weight and maneuverability. Surprisingly neither is an issue for me – the combination is not actually as heavy as one would expect given almost all of it is aluminium. While it took a little time to get used to, I don’t notice that it’s any more difficult to handle than the Raleigh Metro hybrid that I used before. Take off when I have a backpack and/or shopping in the sidebags is slower but once you get some momentum you actually don’t notice that you’re carrying extra weight. That said, I went for a 7 speed which is a change from the 21 speed hybrid but actually suits the pace you end up cycling and allows for a convenient chain guard. Commuting cyclists are overwhelmingly positive about it particularly when you note how comfortable sitting upright is and how great it is being able to easily carry my day backpack (laptop, change of clothes, notepads, gadgets and toiletries) in one sidebag and a bag or two of groceries in the other. This is exactly what I wanted and the joy of being able to pop into town and grab groceries or what not without worrying how I’ll get them home is awesome. My back also thanks me for it as I no longer suffer pins and needles in my shoulder! One last photo is one from today that will also be going into the office newsletter promoting the Cycle To Work scheme which I’m glad to report now has a few more people taking it up!