Meet Dori

I have a shiny new toy!

I’ve been hunting around for a touring bike for a while now, as I’d like to be able to pack up a tent and pedal off somewhere remote for a spot of wild camping whenever I feel like it. I also plan to cycle around the world some day.

Admittedly after doing some research, I’d had my heart set on the Genesis Tour de Fer 20, which is pretty much an off-the-shelf tourer, complete with Dynamo hub and racks, ready to go. However after test riding it I had a few reservations. They were only small things, but they dawned on me nonetheless.

While it rode very nicely and had a good range of gears, I found the handlebars to be far too wide, and the drops did that weird thing where they splay out to the side. I prefer something a bit more compact, as I’m only small myself.

On top of this, the hoods didn’t have those plastic displays with the toggles to show you which gear you’re in. I know this isn’t commonplace for many touring bikes, and it’s a silly thing to look for specifically, but the fact is when I ride, I feel more confident being able to glance down and know roughly how much I need to shift down when approaching a junction. While test riding the TdF, I found myself constantly looking down and backwards, trying to catch a glimpse of the cassette. That’s only going to lead to an accident.

Finally, from an aesthetic point of view… what’s with the colour? It’s what I’d describe as ‘baby poo green’ and it isn’t exactly inspiring…

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There aren’t many of these available now, so after having some difficulty obtaining one I decided to be more open-minded and consider some alternative options. I’d looked at the Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker, the Allcity Space Horse, and various lists of ‘the top 10 touring bikes.’

In the end I did what I do best. I walked into a bike shop, and I bought a bike.

I went to Bike Workshop, where I’d bought Regina, and was shown a very shiny, brand new, Dawes Galaxy Plus.

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Folks… meet Dori.

It was love at first sight. She’s a beautiful looking bike, with gorgeous finishing on the paint, neat welding, and a lovely steel frame which makes the best sound when I tap it with my finger nails. I do this quite a lot now.

This is my first steel framed bike, and I love how smooth the ride is. She absorbs a lot of the shocks in the road, feels super sturdy, and picks up a good pace.

Addressing my previous issues with the TdF, she’s got good, compact handlebars which fit me really well, and the toggles on the gear shifters so I very easily took to riding her without having to re-learn how to anticipate hazards. And just look at her… she’s beautiful. We’re very happy together.

I’ve well and truly christened her, taking her on an awesome mostly-off-road 50-miler at the weekend. I’ll write about this soon.

I’ve only ridden her a few times, but I’m already in love. I’ve taken her on tarmac, towpaths, through the woods and over gravel (both the fine and the chunky, scary variety). I can’t wait throw some bags on the back of her and get out with the tent. My next adventure is just beginning.

And the best bit? That feeling I got when I rode her home from the bike shop and told myself… this is the bike I’m going to cycle around the world on.

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10 thoughts on “Meet Dori

  1. Okay, if this comes out f***ing s**tty, that’s not how it was intended… You put in some serious mileage and I respect your badassness, as I do my wife’s… Okay? Here goes:

    There’s a problem with those cheap-ass shifters with the gear-at-a-glance windows: They’re low-end equipment. They’re not quite crap, but the good shifters (Shimano 105 for example, Shimano’s workhorse) don’t have the windows because we don’t need them. We don’t need them because we know the trick to gears; It doesn’t matter what gear you’re in – and when in doubt, baby ring. You literally can’t lose, and you only run out of gears on stuff steeper than 20%. Finally, you shift by feel, right? Well your sight messes up your feel. I can tell what gear I’m in by the tension on the shifter cable when I shift the lever. I know two gears before I’m going to run out… and I never run out anyway, because when in doubt, baby ring.

    You don’t need those dials. You’re a cycling chick. You’re badass, and you know it. Next steed, go with the 105’s. Within a couple of weeks you’ll be loving how much smoother they are and how much longer they stay in tune… You’ll be wondering what the big deal was in the first place.

    Trust me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I can always count on you to tell it like it is. Don’t worry about coming across shitty, I can handle it.

      I know the windows are silly, but I personally just feel better with them on – I’m sure at some point I’ll move on from them, but having only ridden a very small range of bikes, I’m still not confident switching to a new one. That’s why I like some continuation of something that’s familiar. With time the windows will be sacrificed in favour of something else being continued. Just not yet 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool. Thanks for taking my comment like a champ. Enjoy that touring bike, too!.

        PS. The flared drop bars are for stability when the bike is fully loaded. With your center of gravity lowered, it helps to have your hands spread apart a little more to keep everything balanced out. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dori looks lovely.

    Your gear choices will evolve as you ride more, pick up skills, and get more confident. It’s all a part of the appeal of cycling. You grow out of some stuff, and grow into new stuff.

    If your world circumnavigation gets you to Malaysia, let me know. I would love to ride a bit of your route with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ohh, fabulous post as I’m after a proper touring/audax bike at some point too, Although I bought my road bike 2 1)2 years ago I’m very glad I went up a spec as so far she’s done everything I’ve asked Inc solid tour round wilds of Scotland. I’d like to camp though, I’ve like the look of Ribble but they don’t go down to my size.. A common problem. Bike fit critical for me with skeletal issues. I think I have those windows on the hybrid, Claris gears, wondered why they bothered as I can’t see them!

    I’m also glad I’m not the only one that feels ill at the thought of early starts, and is ruled by her stomach. Delicious sounding nosh!

    Liked by 1 person

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