Sunday, 27 November 2011

Onix Twitter Ride

Can you recall that T-Mobile ad where a flashmob turn up to a railway station and start dancing?

When the landlady of the Leather Smithy Inn must of thought one had turned up in her car park today, when around forty riders arrived, got unpacked and ready to roll out on the flashmob ride organised by Onix Bikes today.

Taking in a fifty three mile route over the Peak District, today's run was nothing official - just turn up and ride.  Attendees had been promised a sneak peak at the 2012 frame design, being ridden today by Onix Bikes MD - Craig Middleton, accompanied by a support car, photographer and plenty of cake (always a good incentive for a cyclist).

Aswell as that, there were some guest riders there.   Eurosport commentator David Harmon attended, Asfra professional Dan Patten, Ken Jones, MD of Onimpex (UK agent for Bioracer clothing and an accomplished racer), to name a few.  It meant there was some quality in the group and some really interesting people to talk to.  I think it's an inventive way to connect with your target audience and get your bikes talked about.

Best thing I've done recently was to put a 32T rear cassette on my winter bike build, I needed it today.  Pulling out of the Leather Smithy Inn we went straight into a steep climb, no messing.  I was OK, however some had to walk up as it was hard going, particulalry with no warm up.  As we got rolling and warmed up, everyone soon found their climbing legs.

One thing you couldn't have ignored today was the wind.  It was blowing an absolute gale.  At points the gusts were so strong, it was difficult to stay on the bike.  Climbing up the Cat and Fiddle, there was a really strong tailwind, so we all made short work of that.

Arriving at the top, a fearsome crosswind hit us and a few riders nearly ended up off the road, Dan Patten and David Harmon needed all their bike handling skills to stay upright, that's for sure.  When it hit me, it pushed me right to the side of the road, thank god I didn't have the deep section wheels on!

A decision was taken to cut the route short, which was the right call.  The planned route of 53M, had around 5.2k of ascent, however wind speeds on the top of the peaks meant it was becoming unsafe .

Arriving back, we'd actually done around 27M and 2.6k of ascent, so nearly half the route.  We'd had a succession of punctures as we set out, which held the group back, plus a couple of mechanicals, so although we were out for around 3hrs 20m, we were in the saddle for around 2hrs 20m, when you've got a large group, you'll inevitably run into a few more issues.

We all piled into the pub when we got back.  CNP had thrown some bottles in, Purple Harry were dishing out cleaning product samples and there was some quality cake and biscuits being handed round - result.  The pub landlady also forgave us (begrudgingly) for filling her car park up unexpectedly in the morning.

Highlight of the day for me was climbing the Cat and Fiddle for the first time.  Heard a lot about that climb, but not done it yet, so was good to tick it off the list.  I found it quite comfortable with my 34/32 gear ratio, who wouldn't.

I was also impressed about the goodwill being shown towards the brand.  Some riders had come down from the Lake District to join in, Dan Patten had driven over from Belgium, David Harmon up from the South East and others from all around the North-West, quality.  You can find out more about the story behind Onixbikes in this short clip below or visit their Youtube channel here.

What I thought was going to be a brutal day in the saddle (half a Fred Whitton), turned out to be an easier ride in some great company.  One major thought I had on the way home was how much I was enjoying some of these more challenging routes, now I've got the gear ratio on the winter bike sorted, some of the big climbing days in the sadlle are feeling a little more doable.

All the ride stats can be seen here. My average speed is a bit all over the place as I kept tracking back, it's important when you're group riding to look out for everyone and to get everyone back in one piece, which we successfuly did.  Great day and some great people.

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