Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bicycles and carbon fibre

I try to commute to work by bicycle at least twice a week - the 11 mile journey takes about as long door-to-door as catching the train, and without the unpleasantness of being stuffed in a metal box with lots of other sweaty people. Plus I'm a little bit more awake than I would be if I just staggered up Charing Cross road and into the office.
However, as I try to up the frequency, I'm noticing how much my back, hands, arms and legs seem to suffer - at least part of which is due to the punishment that the road dishes out. In an attempt to alleviate some of this, I've tried throwing some cheap(ish) carbon fibre components on the commuting hack, to see if they soak up some of the vibration.
Normally, the motivation for carbon fibre is to show off how rich you are, and how lightweight your bike is. I really just want a bit of comfort. Having to ride to and from work and do shorinji kempo in the same day equates to 4 hours of exercise, so I feel I deserve a little bit of help where I can get it.
Hence a carbon fibre bar to replace the stock Bontrager Crowbar that came with the bike. It weighs 128g on the kitchen scales, vs 335g for the original handlebar. It's also flat rather than a riser - first time I've ridden a bike with flat bars since 2000, so it will be interesting to see how I get on with it, and finally it's at least an inch narrower, which probably doesn't make much difference, but might aid with wind resistance trying to crack the Crystal Palace descent record. Well, maybe.


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