Me & My Bike…
Swansea-based Baptist minister David Bowkett gets evangelical about his Giant TCR Composite that adores town and country alike
My bike is a Giant TCR Composite with an Ultegra groupset, Rotor rings and, unusually, Campag gear cables. They’re just that bit thinner and give smoother shifting when cables are routed under bar tape – and, yes, they do fit. I’m very picky about aerobars, as I wanted something that was draft-legal but as aero as possible. So these are Profile Design ZBS T2s, fitted with the pads from the old Profile Design T2+, cut so they’re in line with the brake hoods and capped with a PRO aero bridge. The mechanics at Tredz [bike shop in Swansea] did a really neat job and are very good at putting up with my whims!
& james tennant
The wheels are Pro-Lite Bracciano and are great value for money. But I’d love a pair of lighter deep sections – something like ENVEs, Zipp 404s or SRAM S40s would be nice. To be honest I don’t really have a dream bike, but the TCR composite is a great model, and although there are lighter frames, lighter isn’t always better. There are so many factors
to consider with a bike beyond weight. Is a £10,000 bike really significantly quicker than this? Well, I’ve overtaken quite a few ‘dream bikes’ on this one, so I guess not. In terms of cadence, spin! You have to run afterwards so why wreck your legs? Massive front rings are an ego thing, not a speed thing. Look at pro cyclists. These guys race at a high level and they can’t push a 56-teeth ring, so how come so many age-groupers try it? The first time I rode it, I took it for a loop around SA1, an office development in the city centre. At night it’s fully lit and the smooth, twisty roads form a crit-style loop. We’re spoiled for choice in terms of great routes around Swansea, but my top three would have to be the Bwlch, the Black Mountain and following the sea out towards Llansteffan. You never know what might happen around
here, but you can bank on having to swerve around livestock and drafting behind farm machinery at some point. Perhaps the most colourful experience was during the summer when a stressed tourist in his car followed me through the Gower lanes shouting and screaming. Guess his holiday wasn’t going to plan! My old bikes are stashed away in the barn on my parents’ farm. Most of them were bought at the sheep mart until I started road cycling in a big way as cross-training for XC skiing while in Norway. I don’t talk about how many I have in case my wife finds out. Nuff said. This year I’ll probably do the major domestic short-course tri and duathlon races, the GB champs and then hopefully a couple of races abroad. Nothing is planned yet, though. I missed the chance to do a couple of draft-legal races at Blenheim and London in 2011 due to injury, so it would be great to do them. 220
“You can bank on swerving round livestock or drafting behind farm machinery round here”
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