Whilst Bradley Wiggins extends his lead in this year’s Tour de France I got in the mood along with a number of other cyclists on Bury New Road this evening. I try to be careful who I overtake as I don’t particularly like it happening to me. To be perfectly honest the reluctance to overtake is mostly due to the potential shame of the overtaken cyclist fighting back and regaining their ‘position’ (which is exactly what I would do unless my opponent was lycra’d to the hilt and riding a bike worth £1,000 more than mine).
So I set off from the McDonald’s lights at the junction with Great Cheetham St. and respectfully took my position behind a couple of guys that had set off at a reasonable pace. At the head was a newish white Specialized hybrid belonging to a Strangeways prison warden that I’d met a few months back on the way to work. Tucked in behind him was a giant of a man on another decent looking hybrid but seemed to be bouncing up an down on his saddle and putting in a lot of effort to keep up with Mr Strangeways. Unfortunately I had set off for work in trainers this morning, so without the usual benefit of my SPDs I hung back more patiently than normal on my vintage Saracen (with pannier hanging off one side) and tucked in behind them to form a 3 man peloton. I was also hindered by riding in tight jeans rather than having changed to shorts. After half a mile I figured I could take them and shake them, I just had to chose my moment. Behind me was a black unbranded light looking bike that I was aware had jumped the last lights as we crossed his path. The rider was all in black lycra and wasn’t carrying rucksack/luggage but he too had initially shown respect for the rest of us and was no doubt enjoying the benefit of hugging my back wheel as I in turn benefited from the large bouncing frame of the bloke immediately in front of me. Then a guy drifted past the lot of us on a Focus road bike and it all went off.
I would have let him go, but ninja stealth bike behind me didn’t and followed in his wake past the rest us. I wasn’t going to stand for that and decided to make my move too. The Focus broke away from ninja who had let his overtaking pace drop just a little too much. I passed him with some ease and then pushed on to catch the road bike. This was getting a bit silly. I tucked in behind the road bike for another couple of miles with no intention of regain the ‘place’ he had taken from me but just to bother him a bit. He was saved by a pedestrian crossing in Prestwich village turning red and a break in the oncoming traffic giving me the option of turning right up the ginnel by the side of the Red Lion.
I should be taking the road bike to work but the weather’s just so unpredictable at the moment. I do enjoy riding the Saracen and get a buzz from frightening £1k bikes and their riders with it. As the chain and cassette need to be changed I might replace crank, derailleurs and shifters and then see how much more I can get out of it. I suppose I should look for a lightweight honky horn and a carbon fibre kickstand too.