The Butterfly Effect: UPDATE

Following on from the previous post, it appears to be ‘update Sunday’… Here’s another, reflecting upon the reaction to my post of a few days ago: The Butterfly Effect. Before reading on, you may want to hop back to that post to read what I said at the time.

Done? Good…

Brenda writes:

“We have the [Koga] World Traveller e-bikes. Bought in the summer. I was disappointed at not being able to have the butterfly bars but they couldnโ€™t be changed due to the electrical components.”

I still have a few years in my legs before I head down the electric bike route but I don’t doubt that the day will come. That said, Chris quips:

“By the time youโ€™ve saved up roughly ยฃ4000 [the price of a custom Koga Signature bike referred to in the original piece], youโ€™ll have to consider upgrading to an e-bike because youโ€™ll be that much older…”

John comments:

“My own bike is a Surly Ogre and I love it, but about 10 years ago I found a female Dawes town bike which had been dumped in a lay by. I took it to the police and after the required 28-day period collected it for my wife. It has served both my wife and my daughter, for commuting and touring and has never cost a penny.

Ann Wilson, who you will know from the Cycle Touring festival had her hand built Roberts bike stolen when travelling round the World. She bought a cheap replacement and continued with that bike and has travelled extensively since with the cheaper model.

Tom Allen has written a few articles about people doing amazing journeys on bikes that have been picked up at the tip.

It’s all personal choice at the end of the day, but I certainly wouldnโ€™t discount the Dawes.

Have you considered Jones bars? I have them on my Surly and a Salsa Timberjack which I use for bike packing. I can honestly say they are the best thing Iโ€™ve ever fitted to my bikes.”

John makes a good point: spending lots of money on a bike doesn’t guarantee a successful long-distance adventure, far from it. But I would add that we tend to hear the stories of adversity where a lucky individual has, for whatever reason, used a bicycle that would have otherwise have ended up on the scrap heap and subsequently cycled round the world on it. We don’t tend to hear of those cyclists who adopted a similar approach but had to abandon all plans very quickly. And it’s worth remembering that for every cheap second-hand bike to exist, there needs to be a more expensive brand-new bike made and bought. Surly Ogres don’t come cheap but perhaps John’s will one day get around the world when it is old and rusty. As for the Jones bars…

…has anyone else used them?

Rob Ainsley – who I met recently – writes:

“I have three bikes I use for touring, each with a different style bar โ€“ drop, butterfly, flat. When selecting which one to use for a trip, the prospective feel of each on the likely surfaces is definitely as much a part of the decision process as other factors such as suspension, tyre width etc.

Butterfly bars are much more common on touring bikes on the continent than here; in the UK we are keener on drop bars. So it seems to me, any road. Anyone know why the difference? Is it just a cultural thing?”

Good question. Is it because we see the drop handlebar as the pinnacle of the bicycle design and, despite its obvious unsuitability for long-distance touring, we feel obliged to keep using them? Answers on a postcard. Or better still, below, in the comment box.

And finally, the humble opinion of Pagan Cidergod:

“About 10 years ago I paid ยฃ300 for a Dawes Kalahari. It has taken me from Worcester to Istanbul 1ยพ times (I ran out of time in Macedonia on the first trip), both times carrying 4 well-stuffed panniers and a tent. Naming their bikes after deserts implies suitability for travel and having ridden it for years I donโ€™t see that a more expensive bike could be an improvement. IMHO, of course.”

What do you think?

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

3 replies »

  1. Your post on butterfly bars was the first thing that I have read by you.

    I would have hoped that you would have given other reasons than price as to why the Dawes bike wasn’t suitable.

    (Takes ยฃ400 red bike which in itself was a financial stretch, and cycles glumly away from the rich persons blog)

    • Oh get over yourself… This is not ‘a rich person’s blog’. For the record I currently cannot afford any new bicycle, even the cheapest. I work as a supply teacher and for a local arts centre. My income from writing and this website is minimal to say the least. I can, however, dream and that’s what I often do here. If you don’t like what you read, move on…

  2. well on our first long tour , the North Sea Cycle Route – we didn’t know if we would do more than that one trip and bought low end Giant bikes – they served fairly well but we wore them out after 10,000 miles and then needed to upgrade after they were stolen. Probably the thieves did me a favour

What do you think?