French Cycling – The Nuts N’ Bolts

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There may be exceptions into the truism “you get the things you pay the bill for.” Buying a French Cycling bike is not really one instance. By no means is this a cost. It is a investment. A chocolate bar is basically a cost. Once it’s gone – end o’ story. A good touring bike is undoubtedly an investment. A consistent story. A little over simply reliable transportation. It is going to be your confidante, dream facilitator, passport to adventure plus your best travellin’ pal. So – ya would need to look for the best travelling pal possible. N’est ce pas?
Listed below are the “Friendship Qualities” to search for:
THE FRAME.
Light n’ strong. Here’s where “more”(dollars) is,frequently, mo’ beddah.$400-800 should getcha 90% of the cycling enchilada. In this price range the frame will almost certainly be “cromoly” – a tasty synthesis of chrome and aluminium.
The greater amount of pictures of dead presidents you will need to have in their hands – the lighter the frame. The nth degree being carbon fibre. After that, it’s “the potentials are limitless limit price club.” Frames built with stuff NASA is only dreaming about!
TIRES.
Don’t, repeat don’t economize here. This way of doing things is what “floats yer boat.” So invest in one of the best. $25 to $45 per tire would be the range. I take advantage of, and recommend, the “Dutch perfect” brand.(Even tho’ they don’t seem to be paying me for this. Hint-hint!) This tire comes with an interior layer that traps tire-puncturin’ nasties. Preventin’ ‘em from doin’ in the rubber you float on.
The “Dutch Perfect’s” come with a 1 year guarantee. (in normal use) I’ve used them abnormally (what else?) 6 months with no punctures…… but two (one front, one rear) “tube failures” due to heat and weight. Sadly, i don’t know of any “quality options” for tubes.
Should ya carry a spare? This is usually a “is it recommended to wear a helmet?” question. Depends upon yer field /weight preferences. But, inside a zillion and a half numerous cycling, I’ve only experienced a tire explode on me once. (Front one, at that!)
TUBES.
ALWAYS at minimum two spares. I normally have repair tubes. But(again, “soon enough old -too late smart”) all of the hassle/time/aggro of finding the puncture, marking it applying the glue, watching for it to set, applying the patch, “proving” the patch..etc (getting tired already are’nt ya?) Finally burned the truth into my tiny brain. This is usually a classic definition of false economy. Ok – I’m not a zillionaire yet but $5(or lower)to prevent this happening dance? – sign me up!
SADDLE.
What non-bike folks call “the seat.” Just like a good mattress it should be firm.(ie-support not surround) Softy/foamy saddles are for “girly men” and Sunday cyclists who’s understanding of adventure is a 10 mile(return) expedition to “Lattes ‘r Us.”
DA BG recommends an all leather saddle. England’s “Brooks” makes probably the greatest. Several models, Again, they are not paying me for this glowing endorsement.
The explanation a leather saddle would be the “bee’s knee’s”,”the cat’s pyjamas”, as well as having the greatest thing since all afternoon pizza, is the idea that it morphs, ab/fab and uniquely to match yer rear. The bad news is that the morphing process is two weeks of “I’m being on a concrete block” hell! But -hang in(actually hang on) there. Cus’ thereafter….you’ll be ridin’ with a happy butt.
ACCESSORIES.
Panniers.
Technically an accessory. But, practically, a must!
Mimimum two decent sized(ie -not “Sunday cyclist” size) located on the back. Ideally, also,”low riders” – frames that hook up to yer front forks supporting two smaller(but not tiny) panniers. These “friends on the front” will not simply provide you with a better balanced “unit”, yet are essential to carry all the necessary goodies those friendly foreign people are gonna be tryin’ for one to consider ya down with.
My M.O. would be to put all of the stuff I did not use in the day within the front – leaving eventually half vacant regarding the swag! (“Build it, and it should come.”)
Water.
Mimimum of two one litre bottles. As well as “camel style” back paks, with “tube feeding” for hand free guzzlin’.
Should ya buy the super spendy insulated bottles? Depends, as always on yer wallet. My experience is they’re great, for almost one hour. (Bear in mind I’m usually in 35-40° celsius heat, daily) Generally being boy scout We’re, my solution is to freeze the regular (non-insulated) plastic bottles, then tape ‘em with aluminium foil in the a.m.
They’ll defrost slowly, keeping ya cool through most o’ a day. However, to be your Nutritionist/Doctor has probably mentioned, pretty well that cold aqua decreases on a boiling day, water does ya possibly the most great at room temperature. (No happy medium here.)
Lights.
Really jonesin’ to barrel down those country roads in da pitch black? Then lights would might decrease yer possibilities of a sudden meeting with a Sanglier. (The French wild boar. Think small,hairy Rhinoceros.)
Reflectors.
Located on the bike. And/or around yer ankles. Why not? Inexpensive and practical. (Now there’s a combo ya don’t see often!) And, probabilities of you cycling in twilight, are much higher than those of “Sanglier surfing.”
GPS.
Since I’m beginning with the “getting-lost-is-part-of-the-adventure” school, I can not give ay any….ahem……”guidance” here. A map, a mouth, and half a brain(going on a good day,bien sur) usually saves my bacon.
Counters.
If you will be well countin’ sheep the entire night cus’ you do not know the actual number kms of adventure you surely did…….get one. Personally, I possibly could provide a rat’s ass. Except that it’s the logical question everyone you meet is gonna ask. I basically tell my friendly froggies where I started – and let them look at the math!
Parts.
Unlike those four wheeled metal monsters that will offer you the unrivalled thrill of waiting to fit your needs part to arrive; or perhaps even better, holding off decide if your behalf even exists, and also if so, can easily be ordered – bike parts are bike parts. A brake cable is a brake cable. Within the mall mega store, or the back o’ beyond.