Slow, But Lots of Mo’
So today was my first real trip on Siegfried - into Newcastle, then out to Walker and home. Somewhere around a 20 mile round trip. And I was presenting a workshop in the afternoon, so I had my laptop, projector, lunch, and a set of waterproofs with me (the weather forecast was for RAIN - lots of it).
Overall, I managed to make a somewhat heavy bike, rather heavier.
For the journey out, I followed the cycle route that runs parallel to the Coast Road. This is basically a footpath that’s got some blue ‘bike route’ signs. It’s not a brilliant route, but it is arrow-straight, which helps. When you get to the Wills Building, it diverts a block away from the Coast Road, continuing through quiet streets.
I think it does this because at this point, you’re cycling along slip-roads for the Coast Road, and the temptation might be to move from the pavement to the road, which is one-way. And critically, the other way. The diversion up to the quieter streets gives a really good example of how traffic engineers sometimes get things wrong for bikes:
Now I’m a reasonably experienced cyclist, and I like to think that I can handle a bike. Track stands still give me a bit of bother, but high speed cornering, and low speed manoeuvring are things that I can do.
But this right-angle, right turn pretty much defeated me. Even if I hadn’t stopped to take the photos, I’d have had to get off the bike to make this turn. And before you think that I shouldn’t have been on the pavement (sidewalk) in the first place, remember that this is actually a signposted bike route - dual purpose for pedestrians and bikes.
Anyway, the rest of the journey was great, and showed off what I’ve been missing with ‘modern’ shaped bikes. Riding the Pashley is just comfy. No neck pain, no back pain, no wrist problems, and a clear view of the road & everything around you.
Once this bike is moving, it cruises beautifully. At the same time, the ratio spacing on the 5-speed hub gears encourages rather lower cadence pedaling than you’d see on some bikes I could mention. That translates to a feeling that you’re just ambling along, but in reality it’s not that slow. True, pulling away from a set of lights needs a bigger gap in the traffic, and going up hills requires some determination, but all that weight does have one big advantage - momentum.