Sunday, 29 January 2012

Butterfly handle bars

Last year I took my bike with me to New Zealand and Australia. I also found out about butterfly handlebars. I intended to take my ex-triathlon bike with me and had new gears fitted into the bargain. When it came to dismantle the bike in readiness for the flight, all went well until  it came to the drop handle bars. They wouldn't shift. I tried everything I knew to get them off but they didn't budge a centimetre. My good neighbour Harry came to help me but we did not get any further. I was a bit desperate because the flight was a couple of days away and I had to prepare. Next stop was the bike shop... I was convinced that the professionals would be able to shift it, but no, all that happened was that they broke a rubber hammer on the stem and left it looking in a sorry state. At this point I decided I wouldn't be able to take my planned bike and opted instead for my cobbled together mountain bike, with a lot of unexpected consequences. I wrote about them between March and July last year if you want to find out the ups and downs.
Now I have to admit that the ex-triathlon bike is getting on a bit. I reckon I bought in 1994 or 95 when I first started doing tri's. But it is still pretty sturdy and I have used it over the last few years for some long cycles including the trip around Shetland. But time had taken it's toll. The aluminium handle-bar pole had corroded with the steel bike body to become one.
When I was in Chithurst monastery last November I met a guy, who, like me is retired and likes cycling. I think he is writing a book called 'Zen Cycling.' We got talking about long distance cycling and he explained to me the delights of the butterfly handle-bars. No more sore necks and backs because you can sit up, but you can also hunker down in the wind or when you are putting in a fast pace.  Fast forward a month to the Lennoxlove book festival and I am sitting in the marquee listening to Mark Beaumont describe his trip down the American continent on his bike and yes... you have guessed it - he had butterfly handlebars.
But how would I get the drop handle bars out... Mike in the Haddington bike shop was the answer. He has a reputation of getting out any seat post or handle bar, no matter stuck they are. He did admit to me that he had a challenge with this one. It required heating up the stem and the use of a five foot bar by two people to get it off.  So now I have what feels like a wonderful new bike. It will take a bit of getting used to and I am looking forward to that.

Oh yes... I am thinking of a long distance cycle along the North Sea Cycle trail, starting sometime in May. It looks like a fantastic cycle and is supported by Scotland, England, Belgium, Holland, The Netherlands, Sweden and  Norway. In fact all of the countries it passes through.

You can find out more about it on:

1 comment:

  1. Just Sent off for a set of similar handlebars-Hopefully it will help sort out my aching shoulders and neck!