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Matt’s Bike Build Part 4: The Maiden Voyage
There are three things that will lure me out of bed before dawn on a Sunday morning: the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and a first ride on a new bike.
This year I’ll be getting all three out of the way on consecutive Sundays.
For the first ride on the new-to-me Colnago Tecnos, (you can catch up on its journey here, here, and here) I took it out for an early morning spin on what's become my go-to loop.
With the specialness of New Bike Day, I came to a new appreciation of how fortunate I am to have a perfect 22 mile ride that starts out the front door of swrve HQ.
Here’s how it shakes down.
It starts with a flat and easy two mile warmup spin to the LA River Bike Path. From there, I follow the path into Griffith Park where the rolling hills of the main road are the appetizer for the main event of the route- a three or so mile climb up what locals call Garbage Hill. The best part is this stretch of road is completely closed to cars. The only traffic you’ll encounter is from other cyclists, hikers, and the random coyote or two. For all the shortcomings of cycling in LA, having a literal mountain road in the middle of town that is closed to cars is nothing short of remarkable.
Once Garbage Hill is finally crested, your reward is a 35mph descent towards the base of Griffith Observatory. This stretch of road is always choppy and littered with piles of horse poop and often features stretches that are covered with a few inches of sand for good measure.
From the observatory, you take the plunge back to reality. The pavement turns to glass right as the traffic starts to pick up. When I take this route during the week, I usually return to civilization just in time to get a taste of the madness of rush hour.
Alright, I think I’ve rambled enough so let’s get to what’s really important- how did the Colnago ride?
I guess I’ll disqualify myself from ever working at a cycling magazine when I say it rode exactly how I imagined it would.
The classic Italian geometry had me feeling right at home. The handling was easy and predictable. What surprised me was how stiff it felt out of the saddle while still feeling wonderfully springy over the washboard stuff. (Is this what marketing people mean by laterally stiff and vertically compliant?)
I don’t know how much the bike weighs but it is squarely in the realm of being light and not just for steel. The wheels feel very stable at speed and 28mm tires are definitely the way to go for riding around LA.
My favorite moment of the ride happened when a much fitter cyclist was passing me up Garbage Hill. He slowed to do a double take and as I was catching up to him he asked if the bike was old or new. When I told him it was old, he went on for a moment about how the Tecnos was dream bike when he was younger.
Then he promptly dropped me.