Northamptonshire is quite a nice county to cycle around, as there are some great country lanes as well as some wonderful public spaces such as Pitsford Reservoir. I choose to take these routes rather than long distance road routes, as quite frankly, the traffic in the UK is terrible for cyclists! A typical route is shown down below.
Mountains are in short supply in Northamptonshire, which is a bit of a shame as I really enjoy pushing myself to go harder uphill, but there are several routes which at least take in minor rises. Rough roads are also in short supply, although there are some if you know where to look. Below, is a spur track leading from Brixworth back to the Brampton Valley Way.
So, how does the bike perform? I have to say that I am really impressed. The Rohloff hub provides a range of gears that do not “double” as they do on regular derailleur bikes, and also have the added bonus that it is possible to switch between gears whilst stationary at traffic lights. One thing I have noticed, is that in the lower gears going uphill the hub is a little noisier and also feels noisier through my shoes (if you know what I mean). I often call these the grinding gears, and those words definitely apply to the Rohloff, although i should mention that this is not a defect. When freewheeling, the hub is also slightly noisier than a derailleur. Another feature of my expedition bike that I am very impressed with, are the CSS rims and brake pads which provide incredible stopping power on even the steepest downhill section. This is all very important, especially when carrying heavy loads on the bike through the mountains, and during my time in Peru, I wore out countless pads and even rims.
Overall then. I am extremely impressed with my new expedition bicycle, and it really is a joy to ride. Taking the plunge to fork out the cash for it was a big step for me, but it is apparent even now, that it is a well made decision which I hope will continue to be the case when I embark on my next cycling trip around the world.