Archives for posts with tag: Trek Allant

Another weekend, and another great Sky Ride Local! This time we cycled a sort of familiar route, although we started in a new place for me – still within cycling distance though (although we took the car as we had no idea where we were going!). This time the ride took us through Victoria Country Park and up to Hamble – we did a similar thing on our led ride from Weston Shore during the Big Bike Celebration in June.

It chucked it down for our trip to Itchen Valley Country Park, but the weather was glorious at the weekend – and even though I slathered myself in lotion, I still caught the sun a little bit. I decided to wear my ASOS cycling shorts with a skirt over the top – I love wearing skirts, but I always feel self-conscious about them being short, so whenever I cycle I get to wear cycling shorts underneath! This actually means I’m getting to wear my skirts way more than I did before, which is great news for me – shallow, I know! I also refound one of my favourite T-shirts that I bought from GAP years ago – it’s so thin and comfy, great for cycling in the sun.

I also discovered Heidi plaits are great for cycling (thanks, Minx Girl!) as they keep the hair off the back of your neck in a sweaty clump – they also look good with a helmet too.

Wearing my lovely Sawako Furuno helmet again – I wondered if the smaller ventilation holes would give me a hot head, but I’m pleased to report even in the sunshine I was fine! It’s definitely not as cool as a normal aerodynamic helmet, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

Unlike the previous two times I’ve been to a Sky Ride, I actually arrived early this time, and so I was able to laze about and watch everyone else hurriedly pull their bikes off their racks for a change!

The ride was a good mix of trails and roads – I’m still completely terrified of getting a puncture on gravel, but once I actually get one I think I’ll be fine. I really want to be able to take some kind of course in bike maintenance, but I can’t find anything nearby, which is pretty frustrating…

Anyway, I like having a mix of track and road, and the Allant manages to handle both decently. I think my favourite part is cycling down a long residential road, though, with everyone else stretched out in front. Somehow, as we all serenely glide along, it reminds me of clouds, just peacefully moving through the air.

Something about it just feels so effortless and peaceful. Until, of course, you get Omar, flipping me the bird over his shoulder.

He thought taking photos as I was cycling was hilarious. I have to admit, it’s not the safest thing you can do on a bicycle, but I wouldn’t dream of doing it if it was actually dangerous (or there was traffic on the road!). I’d love to get a camera mount for my handlebars, but I think that a set of lights is more pressing than that!

Here’s Rachel and Omar at Victoria Country Park – we stopped to watch a yacht race, but we were more interested in discussing their recent holiday to Cornwall. They got to go to the Eden Project, and a cycle ride that ended with Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop, so I’m insanely jealous!

The brief stop was great, though, and it wasn’t long before we were back on our bikes to head to the final point, which was Hamble.

There was a big group, and the leaders did a great job keeping everyone happy. Once we got to Hamble, we headed back again – it was about 75 mins of cycling all together, with about 30 mins of breaks added in.

We’ll definitely be trying out some of these routes ourselves when the Sky Rides end in August!

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…when I have such an awesome bike basket…

That’s right, folks – I pimped my basket with a garland of fake roses that I picked up on eBay. It’s not exactly the best way to prove yourself as a serious cyclist, but frankly, I don’t care. Maybe I’ll make someone happy with my silly flowers – who knows?

So, I knew I wanted a bike – but which one? Which brand? What kind?

When you get into bikes from zero knowledge, one of the first things you’ll learn is that there are three kinds of bikes – mountain bikes, road bikes, and hybrids. Mountain bikes are easy to spot in the shop, with their super thick tires and sporty frames. Your road bikes are really more like race bikes, designed to get you from A to B as fast as possible – the kind of thing that athletes cycle. You can spot these because of their super-thin tires and aerodynamic bodies. Then, there are the hybrids – the bikes which are good for those who’d like to take their bike to work, and maybe to the forest on a weekend, bikes that straddle between sporty and hardy, the sort of thing that, if you don’t know much about bikes, you’ll naturally gravitate towards right away, like I did.

But then I scratched the surface and realised there was a whole lot more to this hybrid lark than I had originally thought. Sure, all the catalogues had ‘hybrid’ sections, but then again, some bikes were hybrids and weren’t labelled as such. Some bikes were more sporty than they were for road use, some were more for commuting than they were flying through muddy tracks. My life was made a little more difficult because I’d decided to plump for a Trek – as advised by my friends, who both had Treks – and it seemed like a lot of their subbrands were secretly hybrids in disguise. Like the FX range, designed for ‘sporty types’ – which is more on the road end of a hybrid than the mountain bike end, but is never really called a hybrid. There are countless examples of this, but it made my life very difficult. I just wanted a bike I could cycle with my friends, mostly for road use, but which wouldn’t prevent me from cycling on some trails in the forest if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that the bike salesmen in two local shops were less than useful, and not remotely interested in selling any bikes. I won’t name names because I assume they are anomolies of the biking world – people who neither know anything about bikes, nor about selling products. Anyway, I ended up pouring my knowledge of bikes onto them as if to have them validate my experiences so far, whilst they gave me monosyllabic answers and really did nothing to try to help me select a bike. In the first shop, my opening question was about the difference between different bike brands ‘because my friends like Trek so I wondered if you could help me about the differences between the different types’. The guy then proceeded to tell me how great Trek bikes were for several minutes, which really didn’t help. At the second shop, I wanted to know what the difference between the Trek Allant WSD was, and the Trek FX range, and all I got was that the FX was for sports. What does that even mean? Will the FX be acceptable for use in badminton matches or something?

Anyway, in the end I narrowed it down to three bikes from the Trek range.

The Trek 7000 WSD

The Trek FX 7.2 WSD

And the Trek Allant WSD

Now, I have to admit, I had seen an olive green ladies’ bike with leather saddle and wicker basket in the window of my local bike shop a few weeks ago, and felt my heart stir… There’s something about the combination of a sophisticated, restrained green frame and the elegance of a leather look saddle that just really sings to me. But at the time I had the word ‘HYBRID’ in my mind and wasn’t looking for anything else.

Still, I couldn’t get that bike out of my mind, so I decided to ask a few more questions about the Allant, read some reviews, and lust over Google image searches of it, until, finally, I told myself, ‘well, if you like that damn bike so much, why don’t you just buy it?’. To which the reply came, ‘maybe I will’.