If you’ve had the pleasure of hiring a Mobike you’ll know that the beauty of it is not the quality of the bike but the system around it. Nevertheless, I feel the need to report on the performance of the vehicle and in particular how it functions at the extremes of its remit.
Yeah it’s great for pottering around the twin city centres of Manchester and Salford but how might it handle the cycle section of the Salford Triathlon course? I’m sure you’re all very eager to know…..
I’ll blog again about the Mobike system as I’ve had one or two issues in the last 10 days that I don’t want to talk about just yet; I’d like to allow them at least a month to settle down and address the teething issues which it’s only right for them to expect. So a 10 minute walk to find an available bike but I think it was the best of the 6 I’ve ridden so far. A big squeak around the brakes (that were very effective) but I only found that out at the end of 35 minutes of joyful riding. Other than that it was a faultless ride.
There’s definitely a whistle that develops as you ride at over 12 mph into a headwind. It reminds me of the sound emitted from a late 1970’s Volvo (possibly the 343 model) but that isn’t a bad thing as it transports me back 35 years to a world of Grifters, Choppers and carefree cycle adventures.
So, once warmed up, I set off in earnest from Media City plaza which was the site of the swim to cycle transition zone in my 2013 Salford Triathlon. I headed out towards Eccles and, as 4 years ago, was met with a headwind as I escaped the shelter of the high rise buildings around the Quays. I dutifully stopped at a set of lights before bearing left onto the road that followed the northern shore of the ship canal. As it became more exposed the headwind kicked in and it was most noticeable when climbing over a railway bridge causing the muscles to burn as I tried to maintain a respectable speed.
The bikes are heavy and although that gives them a reassuring feel you do notice the weight on any slight climb. I dropped off the main carriageway onto a parallel cycle path which is definitely the natural habitat for a Mobike. I’d covered the first km in 3 minutes – not shabby. I turned left and crossed the ship canal noting the broken glass not swept away from the cycle path but crunching fearlessly through it all with my solid tubeless tyres. I dipped a bit for the 2nd km down to 3mins 22 but that was the climbing and the headwind I’m sure.
The descent into Trafford Park was welcome as my thighs were burning, I consistently held 17 mph or so with a few bursts of leg speed like some kind of spin class maniac. Strava, if it is to be trusted, claims I hit 31.3 km/h at some point. Sounds about right, the 3rd km was back to 3 mins and then the 4th in just 2:30 which makes for a 24 km/h average over a mile. Downhill yes, but still but a decent performance – has anyone clocked a quicker Mobike km I wondered? I crossed trouble free over the old train lines running across a road in Trafford Park which I remembered bothering me and causing me to move off my aero bars to the main handlebars on each of the 5 laps upon my road bike after surviving the first lap of the Salford Triathlon.
Along the side of the ship canal there was an out and back to Sam Platts which is currently being raized to the ground – a sad sight, even for a City fan. A slight diversion around the Imperial War Museum took me off the original Triathlon course but I don’t think I gained anything. 2:43 for the 5th km and 3:13 after the turn and heading back into the wind. I crossed back over the Media City bridge and returned to Upsy Daisy who marked my start and finish line.
Good fun, a great workout, not comfortable but proving to myself that the bike is best suited to 30 mins and 2 or 3 miles rather than trying to do double that distance with silly speed.