Posts Tagged ‘Excalibur’

My perfect bidon no longer exists

May 23, 2013

I have packed away my Robot Bike From The Future (electronic gears, green like a laser beam, emblazoned with the name of the director of Blade Runner) ready for an imminent four-day trip to south-east France for the Challenge Vercors, which I’ll be riding with my London Dynamo clubmates on Sunday. The Vercors is a 162km sportive which, in a clever, daring and exciting twist, is this year being held amid temperatures of around 5C. I guess the fates decided that 3,200km of ascending and descending wouldn’t be challenging enough without getting our wotsits frozen as well.

I would’ve liked to complement my green, black and white bicycle on this trip with a pair of green, black and white bidons. Sadly, I only have one, and I’m unable to get another exactly like it because Bikepark, the shop that produced it, is no longer around.

bikepark bottle on ridley excalibur

So I will be taking a pair of neutral-coloured Camelbacks instead.

Would my chums Phil Cavell and Julian Wall at Cyclefit, the business Bikepark morphed into, be prepared to issue a strictly limited edition retro Bikepark bottle, replete with the long-defunct URL? They specialise in bespoke bicycles, so this sort of thing should be right up their strada. In terms of quantity, I’m thinking of a number in the area of one. Certainly less than two.

What do you say, fellas?

So I’ve bought a new bicycle…

March 22, 2013

…and it’s green. Like a laser beam.

Merlin Excalibur seatstay

It has a computer brain.

Merlin Excalibur brain

And it’s adorned with a reference to the director of Blade Runner.

Merlin Excalibur top tube

So basically it’s a robot bicycle from the future. A Tron bike. A carbon fibre Terminator. An X-Wing on wheels. The Ridley brand is steeped in the heritage of Belgian cycling, but this looks like the sort of bicycle Kraftwerk’s robotic doppelgangers would ride (if they didn’t have aluminium poles for legs).

Merlin Excalibur profile

I’ve been interested in this particular Ridley Excalibur since Pearson Cycles tweeted a photo a couple of months ago. There are a few reasons why I decided to buy one: the price tag is quite attractive; I wanted to reward myself for being a very good boy money-wise throughout this financial year; and I wanted to try a carbon bike, especially one crafted in the traditional way – by anonymous factory workers in the Far East. More importantly, The Green Machine looks like it couldn’t give an anodised nipple what I or anyone else thinks of it, and that appeals to the obstinate side of my nature.

As a new owner in the first flush of joy, you’re not going to get anything remotely objective out of me at this stage. You may recall that bit in the Alan Partridge Christmas special, where he repeatedly presses the eject button on a CD player in a branch of Tandy (overseas readers: Tandy is, or was, Radioshack) and marvels: “Nice action… very nice action… that is a very nice action.”

Well, that’s basically me dicking around with Shimano Ultegra Di2 during the past couple of days. Changing gears electronically has its own peculiar fun, mainly because it’s so… soft. Light. Gentle. I’m enjoying it immensely, although it will probably be only a matter of time before I yearn for the manly clunk of the 2006 Chorus groupset on my Merlin Cyrene.

I rode up the small climb in Richmond Park against a headwind, and it feels noticeably zippier and more responsive than the Merlin. My emotionless android bicycle does not fear bad weather – but sadly, being human, I do. So I won’t be taking the Excalibur out if it snows or pisses down this weekend. You’ll just have to wait until next week to see it.