Riding a foot taller

IMG_0515I’ve had a few Legend owners over the last few months send me photos of their bikes. I always reply and ask if they could send a little review of how it rides. Problem is I’m not practising what I preach. I’ve had my HT9.5 for a few months now and I haven’t even posted up any photos of it since it was built up. Part of the reason is that I’ve been out riding her, taking advantage of the decent Summer and Autumn we had in the UK, resulting in not much spare time to write anything. But the main reason is I’ve been trying to think of a way of describing what it’s like to own and ride a Legend, and not succumb to the usual cliched bike review. You know the ones I mean, the ones that talk about stiffness, compliance etc. After a while they all sound the same, which makes actually trying to buy a bike on reasoned, left brained rational thought pretty difficult.

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So the other day, whilst out on my Winter bike, I had a flash of right brained creative inspiration. So bear with me because I’m going to go off on a tangent, writing about something completely different to bikes. But, I will come full circle, and hopefully write a review that will at least appeal to the romantics out there.

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When I was a young lad, my Dad came home with a new suit. He was a miner, and like most working class guys who got bloody mucky day in day out, they liked to dress up at the weekend and look good when they went supping ale. I always remembered this particular suit. My Dad had visited a tailor in Barnsley, was measured up and then chose his style and cloths. The result a few weeks later was a peacock blue two piece with a scarlet lining. It was stunning and fitted my Dad perfectly. I could see a glint of pride in his eyes when he went out in it, and I know my Mum appreciated how he looked in it.

Fast forward a few more years, and I was at the stage where I wanted and needed a suit. I was a couple of years into my career and also at the age where friends and family were getting married.

So I phoned the tailor who made that suit for my Dad, all those years previously. Turned out he’d retired, but his son was still running the business. Quite apt really. It was a great experience, and the resulting black two piece suit served me well. A few years later it was my turn to get married, so I duly had another suit made to mark the occasion.  Throughout this time, my interest in all things sartorial grew, and culminated in the last suit I had made. For this one, I poured all my experience, taste and vision with my tailor. Cost was no barrier to achieve what I wanted. The result? You’ve guessed it. A cashmere blend, peacock blue two piece with scarlet red lining.

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Now despite the sartorial splendor that ‘Mad Men’ portrays, anyone working in the creative industries like me, are ‘stereotyped’ if you turn up to work in a suit. So I don’t get much chance to wear my favourite suit day-in-day-out, but I always don it when I go to a restaurant, the theatre and any special occasion. And the reason? Because the suit makes me walk a foot taller – I feel like a better man in it, imbuing a confidence in me seldom seen. I’m even known to look at myself in a mirror! It’s amazing how just pieces of cloth sewn together can change a mans personality, but when these pieces of cloth fit you perfectly and move perfectly, enhancing your natural attributes and making you stand tall, it’s hard not to be a better person.

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So it is with my Legend HT9.5. It’s amazing how some tubes of carbon fibre bonded together can change a cyclists’ personality. But when it fits you perfectly, and enhances your athletic attributes, it’s hard not to be a better cyclist. I don’t get to ride it as much as I’d like, but when I do swing my leg over her top tube, I cycle a foot taller, brim full of confidence. I’m even known to check myself in the reflection of shop windows.

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Now if my ramblings don’t appeal to your romantic side then how about some cold hard facts?

I use the same circuit for my hour and a half tempo sessions. It features a mixture of terrain and has over 1,000 ft of elevation. Despite my best efforts, I hadn’t beaten 20mph average over the whole ride. The first time I went out on the HT9.5, I smashed this coming back with 20.6mph average. And once I’d really got used to her, I smashed through to 21mph+.

Mind you when you’re riding a foot taller, it’s hard not to go faster.

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