On Saturday I picked up the mountain bike I am to ride the C2C on. I had ordered it through Sage’s Cycle To Work scheme and it’s the second bike I’ve bought in this way. It was all very exciting as I went to Leisure Lakes in Bury 6 weeks ago browsing through their Aladdin’s cave of bikes. From their brouchure I could see you could spend the best part of £10,000 on a bike but fortunately I was restricted to a maximum of £1,000 through the scheme. Even with over 30% discount due to the tax free nature of the scheme and the fact that payments are spread over a year I still had to be fairly sensible, and bearing in mind this was my second bike to be used primarily at weekends I set an oh so sensible £400 budget for myself. They had a 2008 Specialize Rockhopper advertised which drew me into the shop but the store manager recommended a 2009 Cannondale F5 which was a similar spec but reduced from £570 to £350. It had front suspension but nothing unnecessary on the back and had V brakes rather than discs. A couple of friends spending around £500 had suffered with cheaper end disc brake systems so I had deliberately chosen to avoid them.
I budgeted another £90 for tyres suitable for the ride, some bar ends and a pair of gloves, another benefit of the scheme is that it extends to accessories, even stuff like child trailers if you want. After preparing the quote and sending it off through work I knew there would be a wait and it turned out to be slightly shorter than last time around. The wait just added to the excitement; it was like waiting for Christmas morning to arrive and so early on Saturday I drove to the shop, arriving 15 minutes before opening time (misjudging how quickly I could find and pay for a tin of paint in B&Q). After 5 minutes pacing around the car park I could wait no longer and buzzed the door for them to let me in. There were already a couple of customers in the shop so they couldn’t turn me away. Sadly the bike was not ready for me (I had phoned 2 days earlier to warn them) but the guy serving me removed and replaced the tyres by the counter then sent it in the back to have the bar ends fitted. He did me all sorts of deals throwing in inner tubes and giving me tyres at old prices which resulted in me having £16 left in my accessories budget. I asked about the range of perfomance drinks (some of which I knew you could buy from Tesco too) and he recommended SIS Go to drink to consume whilst riding and SIS ReGo to drink straight after the ride to avoid feasting on satisfying but badly balanced food (ie my post ride big fat fry ups). I also asked about the magical SIS gel packs which he didn’t particularly recommend, he thought they probably did more good mentally than physically but out of curiousity I still bought one.
So after a brief labour, "Candy Pendleton Holmes" was delivered safely at 10:08am on Saturday morning weighing just over 22lbs. Both rider and bike are doing very well!