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Sunday, September 29, 2013

High Flying Bird

Last week saw the annual bike show held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
Billed as a must for all cyclists, the lure was obvious with most cycle manufacturers being represented  along with quirky  accessories, new concepts and the off chance of rubbing shoulders with some cycling greats. 
Despite the obvious attraction these type of events are not normally something I would attend.
I prefer a less intrusive setting to view things of beauty.
For me looking at a stylish Italian bike is a similar experience to looking at a Caravaggio, it should be afforded a platform that is sympathetic with its quality.

2013 was different - with the recent demise of my Scott Addict I am officially looking for a new bike for next year - Well two to be exact
One for Sportives which I need immediately and one just to thrill me, which could come later.

Over the past four years I had avoided the temptation of making a new purchase due to a promise I made to myself.
A promise that I would try and improve my engine before I looked for a new conveyance.  
As those around me induced severe bike envy with their regular purchases, I could not really complain.
By being fitter and lighter year on year, I was effectively achieving new rides for myself. 

Against my better judgement I attended the NEC on friday with Simon - a fellow Mule Club Member.
As well as having his own interest he was my appointed conscience, there to ensure that I was not too blinded by bling.
Like a child in a sweetshop my eyes were like Catherine wheels, liberally rotating and scanning all that was on offer. 
This new found state of infancy was not lost on the sales staff who embraced me with salacious talk of performance and appearance.
Mesmerised I stumbled through the various stands knowing that their products had supplied most of the professional riders for the past few decades.
Soon noting that the manufacturers names were decaled on every available part of their bikes, the devil inside me decided to advocate and broke me from my trance.

If purchased who did the bikes belong to me?
Or was I just a billboard carrier?
Greatness should need no fanfare or label, it should speak for itself and be recognisable by its individual characteristics. 

As I allowed my internal argument to continue I came across Condor Cycles, a British company who have been around for over sixty years.
They supply bikes to the Rapha Condor JLT Team and like Rapha their products are understated and  recognisable by their appearance, not by any over sized decals.

Their beautiful Baracchi was available for a test ride and seemed to tick all of the boxes for my endurance sportives

It was described as being designed to be a rider's best friend; a perfect bicycle that delivers quick performance at any speed, and at the same time provides the compliance and fit necessary to make even the longest ride more enjoyable.
There was no poetic licence here......I loved it.
With an option to customise your order I have elected for a bike that is completely black, with the traditional badge on the front.

With the Baracchi chosen I now wanted to look for my speedster, to hold my own in the paceline and break all of my PB's on Strava. To use on flat sportives and induce a smile as wide as my handlebars. 
Simon had already acted as my conscience and endorsed the Baracchi. When I suggested we do the rounds again he suggested i look no further than what was meters away.
The Condor Leggaro - The Rapha Condor JLT Team bike 
It was obvious really.
With the UK currently having many of the best riders in all disciplines of the sport, across all genders and abilities - its no coincidence that we also have some of the best bikes Condor and clothing Rapha 

Winter may be just around the corner with short days and long dark nights, but above the clouds the sun is always shining all year long.
There are few birds that can soar to such heights one of them is the Condor
I need no more inspiration for next year.

Blog News
Although 2013 has been a great year for cycling its not been a good year for my writing.
Starting from October I intend to revamp the blog in an attempt to appeal to a greater audience.
I will continue to provide news as to the development and adventures of the Mules Cycling Club on both sides of the Atlantic. 
I will also write posts of general interest to all cyclists and cover any topical issues.
To this end I would welcome any feedback or guest articles - please e-mail to
Posts will be completed on a monthly basis which will be posted during the last week of each month.

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