Photograph of Specialized Amira road bike.
My "new" Specialized Amira.


So I had agreed, in a moment of complete madness, to ride 100 miles for charity.  The 2.3 miles cycling to work and back each day didn’t really qualify as training. My trusty Trek, I had now discovered was the wrong frame size for me, although I loved my bike. I decided to look for a new bike, to ride the Nello (I really believed this would make it easy!). I looked at various bikes online, and really couldn’t find anything I really wanted and I didn’t want to spend more than £1000.  Now, I consider the queen of bargains and decided a decent second hand bike would be perfect. The ones I wanted new were around £3000 – £8000 which was a bit unrealistic!

I spoke to people in the Willand Cycle Club for advice on what to get.  I had a few “on watch” on Ebay but, really felt I wanted to ride the bike before parting with £1000.  A club member was upgrading her bike, and she informed me her old bike would be for sale.  She said she wanted £1000 for it.  A Specialized Amira and it had benefited from a number of upgrades. These included a Shimano 105 group set and Shimano wheels (I thought all wheels were the same – apparently not!). Once I rode the bike, it felt it was a better fit than my old Trek.  Long story short, I bought the bike for £800. The previous owner had really looked after it and there really wasn’t a scratch on it (until I owned it!). “Over the moon” was how I felt about it.


My new bike was put to use cycling on the commute to and from work but, it felt like hard work. Initially, I put this down to the fact it had no “Granny ring”.  Andy and I went for a ride one lovely evening soon after. We cycled to Wellington in Somerset, over the hills, we had planned a loop of about 35 miles. About 20 miles into the ride, I was really struggling and I couldn’t understand why.

On a road I didn’t know, coming down a hill with a sharp bend at the bottom, I came off – quite spectacularly!! My knees were full of gravel, as were my elbows. Washing my wounds using my water bottle, I announced that I f&*^ing hated the bike and I wanted my old one back!  Andy was really angry with me, he said it was my fault I had come off, nothing to do with the bike and started banging on that I would never be able to complete The Nello. I rode off in a different direction.

At this point, I must explain, Andy and I very rarely have a cross word, we are a team. We work together in everything we do. I absolutely adore him and I’m pretty sure he feels the same about me. Andy arrived home before me, as the route I took involved some stupidly steep hill, which I got up in shear temper!  Blood was still dripping from my legs and arms and it hurt a lot!  I blamed the bike, Andy kept on that it was a really good bike, and didn’t understand why I hated it so much.


A few days later, I arranged for Steve (the chap that did the talk on bike maintenance) to give it a basic service. He did a great job. He removed sand from the frame (?), making it lighter. This made the bike quite ‘flitty’.  Being under 8 stone in weight, this made the bike feel very unsafe in the wind – almost as if the bike was making the decisions when I rode it, not me.

Without warning, the bike then started to make a clunking noise every time I rode it, it sounded like there was a horse following me. And I hate horses (no handbrake, teeth and metal bits on their feet!). At this stage, I really wanted my old bike back. Nobody seemed to listen to what I was saying.  Everyone kept saying it’s a really good bike, full carbon, brilliant upgrade with the gears and wheels, well maintained and looked after blah blah blah’. For my part, I kept thinking it was because I had lost my “granny ring” – even though I rarely, if ever, went into that lower ring. I just couldn’t figure it out.  But I was beginning to hate cycling on this bike with a passion! The Nello was drawing nearer. It seemed every time I rode anywhere I fell off, causing injury after injury. There had to be an answer…….


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here