real life cycling

Nine northern winters and one winter bike

Over the course of nine northern winters I’ve spent a total of one hundred and fifteen quid on my winter bike. That’s a hundred and forty dollars, a hundred and thirty Euros, or five hundred and seventy three thousand four hundred Cambodian Riel.

Bugger all, basically.

We’re talking two sets of tyres, a new chain, and a wrap of bar tape.

And last winter, the bike mutinied. Gear changes failed more than they bit,  bumps in the road came with a clank and brakes, all gummed up with a decade of crap and corrosion, offered no more than a mere whisper in the direction of the rim.

Politely, along the lines of: ‘could you perhaps slow down a tad… if that’s OK?’

And no-one wants timid brakes.

By February the unions has been called in. A strongly worded letter had been written to it’s MP. The bike had all but downed tools and commenced strike action, chaining itself to the railings and threatening a dirty protest.

I had to cave in.

“OK,” I bargained with my unloved winter hack, “let’s make a deal.”

And so, on the cusp of another winter, like a British PM desperately trying to get a fudged deal through Parliament, I’ve lavished it with attention and hard cash. Nearly a million Cambodian Riel, to be precise. No messing.

Should buy me another decade, right?


New chainset, new rear derailleur, new cassette, new chain, bar tape, bottle cage, headset top cap. All ebay bargains. Discontinued stock, innit!

No-one, see, in this world of bike finance, 0% APR, and built in obsolescence, has a use for this stuff. Which means I gain a little victory against the relentless march of unfettered consumerism. A decade of studiously avoiding investment in my winter bike paying dividends.

The bike is a 2007 (ish) Pinarello Angliru. Just to put that year in cycling context Alberto Contador won the Tour de France and Geraint Thomas was schlepping around at the back of the peloton for Barloworld. Alejandro Valverde was in his late twenties, for goodness sake…we’re talking a whole generation ago.

It’s an old bike.

(Or, if I decide to flog it on ebay at some point: vintage.)

The freshly purchased components are Campagnolo and Cinelli. I instinctively knew that, having fallen so far out of love with this seasonal workhorse only Italian accessorising could hope to bring us back together. Romance rekindled, a productive few weeks of winter training lies ahead.

Or, OK…bare minimum, I will at least own a winter bike with twenty available gears and a fighting chance of drawing to a stop at a T-junction whilst looking splendid.

After all, you really can’t put a price on either of those things.

3 comments on “Nine northern winters and one winter bike

  1. Hahaha you’ve been a proper tight northerner with that one! Glad you’re finally showing it some love! 😉


  2. My old Specialized Roubaix has the same sort of attention. A bargain on eBay several moons ago, 2008 vintage and surviving still, including a week’s 550 mile tour through Spain last year. I regularly drip feed it with occasional replacement bits and has done more miles than my newer Roubaix this year due to failures of modern technology (latest a snapped crank arm which is taking Shimano over 2 1/2 months to sort out so far).


  3. Pingback: Operation Tuscany (part 2) – road|THEORY

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