Unravelling the Cost of Bikes in The Tour 21 Challenge. OMG!!

The Hard Work Starts Now.

Great news: I have been accepted as part of Tour 21, but what now?

Let’s look at this logically.

The first thing I need is a bike. It’s always useful on a challenge like this.

Of course, I did not know what a minefield I was walking into. And how hard this is.

The Bike

Now, I have to be honest, as you would expect, given my lack of cycling, I don’t know anything about bicycles, or bikes as I call them.

For instance, as a child, I could not afford a bike, but we always played at the fields with a group of boys who all had Raleigh Choppers and would let us go on them. Now that’s a proper bike and should be in the Hall of Fame. Maybe it is?

Whatever happened to Raleigh Chopper? How cool would it be to see a Tour de France where these are the only bikes allowed?

Like vinyl records, the Raleigh Chopper must be on everyone’s Christmas list next year. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis, in case you are wondering.

 The Equipment

I reached out to a friend, Ian, an avid cyclist who once had stopped laughing, “I think what you’re taking on is brilliant! Happy to help where I can”. He then preceded me to give me a very long list of requirements: You will need one that is capable of being able to do long distances, needs to be very light, wheels that role, that’s important.

I think all wheels roll, but supposedly, you get ones that roll better than others. I’m still confused about this one. Who knew it was a thing?

Correct gearing is essential, as well as a suitable saddle, pedals, and a pretty long list, and all are as important as the other. I am sure there is a hierarchy. It must be the right size bike, fit as well, and need a 34-11 cassette. The last cassette I had was a dance mix in the 80’s.

This is the cassette, and it’s excellent.

“Shock absorption too, and day after day, will take its toll”. You are going to need a very light bike.

However, he decided to leave the clothing and shoe conversation for another day but stressed their importance, especially the shoes. I have lots of shoes, so I’ll be in a good place to chat about shoes; I’m very particular about these things.

In my naivety, I assumed I could nip down to the local bike shop and pick one up or even a second-hand one on eBay.

I did not know that bicycles come in an array of products and levels and prices that will bleed your eyes, notwithstanding all the other items like gears, saddles and the such like.

The great thing about the Tour 21 is that one of our partners is Ribble Cycles, and as a rider, I get a sizable discount. They make top-quality bikes and have one for every level and budget, a relief.

I have studied the bikes, gone backwards and forwards with Ian, and decided that the E-bike is out as that’s not how you are meant to do the Tour.

How Much!

                      £2-3k or £8-10k

Ian kindly sent some examples of the type of bike I need. They are things of beauty. The lowest was in the £2-3k range, and then, for kicks and giggles, sent me through the £8k bike.

In addition, you can add wheels that are £2k if you choose, never mind the other items. It comes, of course, already fully loaded, but people have their preferences.

Without a doubt, as I researched, this is a minefield and my lack of knowledge makes this overwhelming. In fact, at £2,000, these can make a difference, maybe next year.

Oh my god, how expensive are bikes? I know you get what you pay for. Ribble is a top-quality manufacturer, and with other brands all at a similar price or even more, bikes range from the hundreds to over £10,000, yes, over £10,000. The world’s gone mad. And I thought golf was an expensive hobby.

This is meant to be a charity ride to raise funds, and I am already thinking of the costs in monetary terms to take on this endeavour. This is the cost of the bikes, never mind all the other items I will need.

Undoubtedly, there is no doubt that a bike of suitable quality with all of the aspects Ian talked about is required. After all, riding for 21 days over 2,000 miles, you must ensure it is comfortable and suitable for the challenge.

I have, of course, been keeping my partner, Debbie, up to date on the challenge, and the best part of this was a conversation she had with her mother, highlighting my predicament. Yes, he will ride the Tour de France, and no, he doesn’t have a bike. Carol, who once became aware of my predicament, kindly offered her bike for me to use. You have to love her, but sadly, I had to decline.

Carol, you are a legend!!

I have to get creative on this as I do not want to pay several thousand pounds for a bike. Because after the summer, I may never ride again. If they are anything like cars or even golf clubs, they lose value almost immediately. It’s time to get my thinking cap on.

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