"That bike is going to ruin your blog," was the ominous first line of an email from a longtime reader. I had just announced my loaner arrangement with Seven Cycles and the Ride Studio Cafe, and this - in addition to the breathless account of my first paceline ride - proved simply too much for those who saw me as incompatible with such things. Would I soon be selling my loop frames and renaming the blog to "ugly bicycle?" Well, I will neither try to convince you that the Seven is "lovely in its own way," nor assure you that while the Seven was nice I still prefer lugs. I will simply describe my experience with this bike from the beginning and you can draw your own conclusions.
Rob Vandermark (who owns both the Ride Studio Cafe and Seven Cycles) measured it and set up the Seven so that my position would be the same. Another reason I chose the particular bike I did, was that it had a Campagnolo group installed. I told Rob that I had difficulty using Shimano brifters on all the modern roadbikes I'd attempted to ride in the past. He looked at the Tektro short reach brake levers on my own bike and said that if I liked how those felt then I should try Campagnolo - the design was very similar. He was right and I was able to brake comfortably.
Selle An-Atomica) and matching Fizik handlebar tape, installed a bottle cage, a computer, and MKS Stream pedals with Power Grips, and put a puncture-resistant set of tires on it (Michelin Krylion Carbon), just in case. Otherwise, the bike pictured is as it was given to me. The weight - with everything shown here (note the tool pouch) plus clip-on lights and empty water bottle - felt to be around 17lb.
Axiom S is Seven's "value" straight gauge titanium model, with the frameset priced in the mid $2,000s and complete bikes starting at just over $4,000. While that may seem costly, consider that the Seven is handmade locally and includes custom geometry and paint, and that mass-produced off the shelf roadbikes can fetch similar figures. Puts things into a different perspective is all.
crazy flat spokes (yes, that is their official name). And the fork is a Seven 5E - which is supped to be a really good, extremely durable carbon fiber fork - but was still scary for me to use at first. In fact, this is the one part of the bike I was afraid to trust, half-convinced the fork would snap and kill me during my first ride.
faster on it than the Co-Habitant, which otherwise never happens. When I rejoined the paceline rides, I not only was able to keep up, but moved up two group levels fairly quickly. The Seven and the paceline rides combined changed my riding style. I started to ride more frequently, more aggressively, more confidently, and in a more determined and less meandering manner. I lost fat and gained thigh and arm muscle. I got generally stronger and more cardiovascularly fit. I started to think of riding as "training." Training for what? Well, for continuing to move up in the paceline groups and then maybe joining a cycling club and... possibly racing. Did this change me or this blog's content for the worse? I can't tell. Maybe, maybe not. But I enjoyed this type of cycling as I never thought possible to enjoy an athletic activity, and my own perception of myself has shifted as a result.