Why ride mediocre when you can RIDE YOUR DREAM

When you ask a woman how many handbags has she got, it usually takes a couple of minutes before you get an answer. The number of bags are being totted up in one’s head. Ask a cyclist how many bikes have they got and you’ll get a quick response, n plus 1. N being any number at all. In January, I thought it was time for an upgrade, I developed bike candy, eye candy to a female and cycling had me hooked in its entirety. The big brand names, the geometry of a bike frame, paint finish, components, gearing, disc or not to disc all became very interesting topics as I scoured the internet reading up on reviews and talking aimlessly to cyclists about what my next bike should be. 

In 10 months, I had completed over 4,308km on my Trek Lexa S ladies aluminium bike, I was now getting bike envy and I decided to treat myself. It was time to buy my first carbon. The difference is instant practically half the weight of an aluminium. I would hold onto the Trek, it would be ideal for winter training and well I couldn’t get rid of it. No joke, the caption under the top bar reads, ‘best friends forever’ and besides who doesn’t love their first road bike. When you look at it you are reminded of all the great adventures you’ve had together, if you don’t cycle, it’s like your first car or your first kiss. You remember it fondly. I toyed on the idea of getting a Trek Silque S but eventually decided against it because I felt there wasn’t much of a difference between the Trek Lexa and Silque, standing side by side they look the same. Going for an upgrade I want bang for my buck within my budget and I had a shopping list that was simple; 1. carbon frame 2. decent components and 3. nice wheels. In my dreams I wanted something different, understated, something that would become timeless.

After months of bike watching, researching, seeking opinions from others I casually dropped by Hollingsworth in Stillorgan as they stock Ridley bikes. Ridley bikes where born in Belgium and all their bikes come with a sticker that proudly reads ‘tested on pavé’, this means their bikes are tested on the cobblestones (pavé). A good test of a bike if its fit to contest the Belgian classics, like the Tour of Flanders, a 260km road race that includes cobbled roads and hill climbs. I had the Lotto Soudal cycling kit so I needed a Ridley to complete the Belgian look.

I was shown a retro looking bike frame, at first glance I was curious I really liked the paint finish. Then I became a little excited as Joe Hollingsworth explained what he would do to the frame. I was looking at a Ridley Helium RS (retro style) an XS frame weighing 870g. Joe added the Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset (which is the brakes, crankset, cassette, derailleurs, shifters and chain). Zipp 80 handlebars, Deda RSx02 seatpost, a Specialized Oura ladies saddle, Look Keo white pedals and I chose the wheels. Just like the saying ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’. This is the case for me, great wheels in my opinion complete a great look of a bike. I chose Campagnolo Scirocco 35mm. After extensive research I chose these because ‘the Scirocco meets the demands of amateurs, long-distance riders and those riders with a pronounced ''racing'' spirit. Me in a nutshell, isn’t there a little competitive spirit in us all? They looked good also.

Since late March I’ve been cycling my now beloved Ridley around the country. Often on solo rides, rides where you just want to keep going to continually cherish your sense of freedom. The gratefulness in your heart when you see the stillness of panoramas around the Wicklow hills. Air bushing against your skin, the anticipation of what waits you when you take a new road. The Helium responds well to my instructions, for me it’s my dream ride, smooth, agile for hills, fierce for acceleration and it glides like a feather through the air on descents. The caption on the top bar speaks for itself, ‘RIDE YOUR DREAM’.

It’s now late August and already I can feel a slight change in the temperature. Autumn is on our door step and a true sign of the chill of winter is when you have to start sticking on the leg warmers and long sleeve jersey’s and jackets. I’m dreading winter not because it will be colder on rides but because I won’t be out on my beloved Ridley. That bad boy will be put away until Spring, safe and secure in my bedroom.



  1. Gonna bookmark your blog, liking your writing style and passion for this addiction called Cycling :-)


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