Bike woes

So, a year ago I spent a small fortune on a brand new bike, which in the end got very little use, and I ended up selling on in January. What I am not quite sure about is if I sold it for practical reasons or if some kind of anxiety issue crept in, or maybe I was just being too damn precious.

So, rewind a year and I became the proud owner of a 2014 Giant Defy Advanced SL1. I had spent ages finding a bike that I liked the look of, got great reviews and had fantastic spec, and I decided the Advanced SL was for me. At that time I had never heard of an ISP before, or to give it its full name, Integrated Seat Post. I had ordered online, I had correctly ordered the right size frame so when the bike arrived looking like this, I soon realised what an ISP was.

Giant Defy Advanced1 SL

Giant Defy Advanced1 SL

Now if you look closely at the seat step, you will see it is very, very long! At this point I realised what an ISP was and why the online bike shop asked me what my height was (I assumed they had meant for size frame). Basically, you have to cut the step for your exact height. The problem I have is I don’t know my preferred saddle height because of frequent saddle soreness, I often find I vary it. What followed was a couple of months of angst, ‘what If I cut it too short’ I will have ruined the bike frame.

AF about to cut ISP

AF about to cut ISP

Now I am not sure this was some form of OCD, but there was some serious preciousness going on and a fair amount of anxiety. Eventually (got to be noted, very little sympathy from my two Ride4OCD friends Marnell and Salkovskis) but I manned up, and I cut the damn stem, (not my best picture I will admit).

Afterwards I was left with a bike that looked beautiful, lovely sleek saddle stem, beautifully bladed spokes and a bike so light you can pick it up with two fingers of one hand, yet why wasn’t I happy?

The anxiety kept getting the better of me, I had still not been sure of what my best saddle height was, and every time I rode it in the back of my mind I would be thinking what if I have cut it to the wrong size, what if this, what if that. In the end life got in the way last summer, I hardly rode because work was getting so busy. In fact, the first time I really rode it was at the Great Notts Bike ride where Beth and her volunteers team were hosting an OCD awareness event, in fact one of her volunteers pictured me riding above. But all the time in the back of my mind, despite having this beautiful bike I was not happy with it. The final straw came last month when Paul and I started planning JOGLE. I had booked myself a few days away cycling in Majorca for April and May and I realised, because of the ISP it created the practical problem of packing my bike away to fly, because of the ISP it won’t fit in many bike boxes. So that was it, enough was enough, why ride something I am not comfortable with? And on eBay it went, to be replaced by a new bike for 2015 (and it’s got to last me a few years), the 2015 Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1 as pictured, the model down from the bike I had before, and most importantly it comes complete with an adjustable seat stem… oh happy days. I have ridden it twice since buying the bike and I don’t feel at all anxious or so precious about the bike, I am just happy to be riding again.

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1

Ashley Fulwood is an OCD sufferer fighting back. He is also the chief executive of the national charity, OCD-UK.

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