It has been a good week; daffodils are on sale in Morrisons (meaning that spring can only be a few weeks away), Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie has re-entered the best-selling lists on Amazon (mainly because the publishers are selling the Kindle edition – for a very limited period – for a mere 99p) and I have survived another interesting few days as a supply teacher (or, as I am known to the children, ‘just a supply teacher’). This latter achievement was particularly notable as it included an incident involving a wooden metre ruler, a hyperactive boy and the cheek of an 11 year-old-girl (tears were shed albeit not by me as I saw my career pass before my eyes…). On a cycling level, I am looking forward to a return to two wheels during half-term week which starts on February 18th and to crown off a glorious week… I have found a new love, this very afternoon, in a shop in Tadcaster:
She? He? It? Who knows? We met on the first floor, introduced by the son of ‘Big Dave’ and she / he / it is a Koga World Traveller bicycle.
Before you read on, catch up here: The Butterfly Effect: The Dawes Karakum, The Koga World Traveller And The Koga Grand Tourer
I can’t remember previously inspecting a Koga up close and personal and the first thing you notice is just how well built the bikes actually are. Solid to the core, without (hopefully) being solid to the core. But what else would one expect from a Dutch bicycle? Some time ago I wrote a piece for either this website or for one of the books about the amount of money different nations in Europe spend on bicycles. The gulf between what the Dutch spend and what everyone else spends is marked and is measured not in a handful of Euros but in hundreds of Euros. Looking at that Koga this afternoon I could easily see where the money is spent. If Reggie, my Ridgeback Panorama were a 4×4 car (thank God he isn’t…), he would be a Nissan Qashqai in comparison to the Koga World Traveller Land Rover Challenger. If wars were fought on bicycles, the Koga regiment would be in the front line. It’s an impressive bike that is up for the fight, or indeed a few very long rides…
Alas the man I needed to speak to in person – the aforementioned ‘Big Dave’ – was not at Cyclesense this afternoon but his very welcoming son showed me upstairs and fended off my questions until we arrived at the point where he admitted defeat and phoned his dad. Dave and I spoke on the phone for a good 10 minutes but nothing beats a one-on-one encounter with someone who really knows his business and according to the big man’s son, there is no one in the country better placed than his father to give advice about the Koga tourers. So I’ll be returning to Tadcaster very soon for that face-to-face encounter. Watch this space…
In the meantime, enjoy a beer. I’m sure that’s what the good folk of Tadcaster will be doing tonight, especially the ones who work in the local bike shop that just happens to find itself opposite this: