Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My new bike, the Liv Beliv 2

French Village Diaries Liv Beliv 2 new bike cycling France touring
Liv Beliv 2 with pannier rack and mudguards 
While I spent two days last week rediscovering my love of stretchy yoga positions (more about that later) and learning about Mindfulness (both positive experiences), the downside was I left Adrian home alone. With no structured project to keep him occupied he took to the internet with no supervision. While Mat and Agi from Matagi Mundax Yoga Workshops were teaching me to appreciate the here and now and learn to live without letting my desires for the future give me an illusion of happiness just waiting for me around the corner, ironically Adrian was busy researching new bikes.

Following his algebraic principal of N+1 with N being the number of bikes you own and N+1 being your optimal number of bikes, he felt I was lacking. When Adrian gets an idea in his head he’s a little like a dog with it’s favourite toy and it’s not easy to persuade him to drop it. This is how I found myself in a bike shop in Niort last Saturday just ‘looking’ at their ladies selection of bikes.

Now, it’s not that I’m fussy, but being short generally means it’s not possible to try a frame that fits me without ordering it in advance. Most bike shops hold stock in the more popular medium or large frame sizes, rather than small or extra small. My current bike is good enough but not great. I’ve never really got ‘comfortable’ with only having brakes on the drops of my handlebars and although it’s easier for me when Adrian carries all the luggage on tours, the fact that my bike has no rack mounts isn’t ideal as we do love our touring adventures. In the Sarthe I managed to wear out a whole set of brake pads in the week as I’m a little too cautious downhill, but this brake-happy squeezing could one day create so much heat on the tyres I get a blow out. I wouldn’t like that.

French Village Diaries Liv Beliv 2 new bike cycling France touring
Liv Beliv 2 stripped down for road rather than touring
Back to the bike shop and tucked away in a corner was a little ladies bike, a Liv Beliv2, not the prettiest of paintwork, but not only was it the only ladies drop handlebar bike in the shop it also had a lot to offer. Disc brakes to start with (meaning no overheating), pannier rack already fitted, drop handlebars but with raised brake levers too and a 30% reduction label hanging tantalisingly from the handlebars. The icing on the cake was that it was in my size, almost of if she was sitting there just waiting for me.

Adrian was as excited as a puppy as this was one of the models he’d looked at online but had no idea was in stock and the discounted price really appealed to him. However, I don’t make rash decisions; in fact decision-making is something I’ve always found difficult and up to this point I hadn’t realised I needed a new bike!

While she is certainly an upgrade in many ways on my current bike, she’s not perfect. The gear set is still the same, albeit with an extra Granny Gear to help me climb the tough hills, and the frame shape will make fitting a second water bottle carrier quite a challenge. What she is though is more of a touring bike than a speedy road racer, and so am I, which means she is so much more of a perfect fit for me.

French Village Diaries Liv Beliv 2 new bike cycling France touring
Beer stop in the Charente
I have now had a three test rides out on her (and clocked up over 100kms) and can’t quite believe that so many of the aches and niggles I had assumed were normal when cycling on a road bike have disappeared. I’m now even more excited about setting off on the Tour de Rêves, our six day charity adventure, touring the Deux-Sèvres department, that is now less than three weeks away. We would be very grateful for any donation, so if you would like to help us to help children suffering from long-term medical conditions please click here, thank you.

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike tour Deux-Sèvres



Looks like, yet again, Adrian was right, I did need a new bike after all.