Update: Friday 26th March 2010

I took delivery of a Ridgeback Panorama earlier this week….

Following some footwork on 30th January, it is likely that I will invest in a Ridgeback Panoramic from AW Cycles in Caversham, Reading. You can see the details on the Ridgeback website. The price of the machine is £1,199 but with the salary sacrifice scheme that the government runs, I will get 40% off the first £1,000 of that price which will bring down my outlay to about £800. It has pre-fitted and very sturdy pannier racks on both the front and the back. This will hopefully provide a more balanced solution of carrying kit than I had last summer while cycling the Pennine Cycleway where everything was loaded on the back of the bike. The kit I will need for cycling the Eurovelo 5 will be increased by things like a tent, sleeping bag and some basic cooking equipment so the extra storage space will be appreciated.

My current bike is a Trek 7500, just under a year old. Here is a picture of what it looked like prior to the arduous commuting it has had to endure over the last 12 months… It doesn’t look anywhere near as sleek as the one shown here. Both tyres have been replaced and the black is somehow less black. That said, it’s a decent bike. It’s light and strong and comfortable.

I had set my sights on a a Bianchi…. Below is the picture I took the first time I saw it at The Bike Show last October. What a beauty! But it is difficult to attach panniers so I’m afraid it is out of the running.

Update: 14th February

As found in a back copy of The Bicycle Buyer (April / May 2009), a list of touring bikes:

Raleigh Royal £459

Dawes Galaxy £899 – this one gets a whole page but it doesn’t say it is a “best buy” or anything like that, just a bigger picture and more detail so reading between the lines I suppose they are recommending it. But then again, they don’t give you the website which is what they do for the rest of them…

Kona Sutra £999 (are they taking the piss with that name btw?) This one looks amazing – check out the details here… It is still quoted as £1,000 on the website.

Ridgeback Panorama £1,099

Cannondale Touring Classic £1,249

Thorn Raven Tour £1,349

Condor Heritage £BeSpoke

6 replies »

  1. Our charity, the AGSD-UK, is considering a similar ride as a charity event in 2011; so I will be following your progress with great interest. For now, can you give me any information about the Governments Salary Sacrifice Scheme and how it can be used to buy a bike? The savings you show are substantial but I would like to understand the full implications of the scheme.

    • Thanks for getting in contact Allan. The Salary Sacrifice Scheme works through your employer (if you are employed by the charity you mention, I would imagine that it works in the same way as it would for any other employer – I work for a county council for example, not a private company). The employer registers with one of the organisations who actually administer the scheme (in the case of my employer it was an outfit called “Salaryt Plus”), employees then register their interest and how much they would like their voucher to be for (maximum of £1,000)…. the admin takes a few weeks…. then you recieve a voucher for the amount you applied for. You take that voucher to a participating bike shop and “buy” the bike. Over the course of the next 12 months, payments are taken at source from your salary by your employer, before tax – that is where the saving is! I think there is also VAT that comes into it somewhere. The saving changes depending upon how much tax you pay (whether at standard rate or higher rate). See your employer for more details. If they have heard nothing of it then pop into your local bike shop – they tend to have leaflets available explaining everything.
      Good luck with the cycle ride in 2011. You will hopefully be able to follow at least some parts of my route. Hope I don’t get lost!
      Keep following the blog.
      Best wishes

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