Tricky-the-test-bike parts 2 & 3

A wintery forest scene.

A wintery forest scene.

Tricky-the-test-bike and I have become close friends over the last 2 months and, because Tricky is easily identifiable it has been hard for me to go anywhere with any sense of privacy as everyone recognises Tricky and therefore knows that I will be in the vicinity.  Here is Tricky, hanging out outside my flat on bin day:

Tricky, ready for a trip.

Tricky, ready for a trip.

As a commuting bike, I have been really impressed with Tricky.  He has handled all types of surface really well and feels reliable and sturdy.  Over the past 7 weeks, I estimate that Tricky and I have done about 200km of commuting and I can honestly say that he is the comfiest bike I have ever ridden.  I don’t feel the weight of the panniers on the back, he copes well with mud, ice, rain, gravel, sand, tarmac and anything else thrown at him and, if this kind of thing bothers you, I think he’s quite stylish too.  There’s plenty of space on the handle bars for lights, bells, boxes etc and the mud guards are fantastic.  My cycling jacket, which usually needs to go in the wash once a week, has not needed to be washed once since I’ve been using Tricky.

As well, as going to work, Tricky has been down to the European Parliament a few times because that’s where I have my music rehearsals.  There’s a pretty niche market for people who cycle with a French Horn on their back (!) but Tricky makes it really easy and comfortable.  Usually it gives me bad back ache to cycle with the French horn but this was not the case with Tricky and he has made cycling to the Parliament a really enjoyable experience.

Tricky in action, in the forest.

Tricky in action, in the forest.

As a touring bike, it’s been hard to test him over a long distance.  The weather in Belgium in winter is not conducive to long cycles (unless you like rain, wind and freezing temperatures when pedalling) and, of course, the days have been quite short.  Today, I planned to cycle to Leuven and back but the adverse weather conditions caused a change of plan.  Whilst cycling at full speed up the hill into Terveuren, friend AW and I were battered by freezing cold winds with gusts of up to 60 km/h and the sky grew darker and darker.  We stopped for coffee in Terveuren (well, of course…it’s the first ride of the season and you always need to reward yourself for hills climbed succesfully!) and decided that heading to Leuven was daft.  So, we headed into the Foret des Soignes, and back to Brussels via a scenic forest route.  The whole journey was approximately 40km and, by the time we got back we were soaked and chilled to the bone.  My legs had, no exaggeration, turned blue!  Further investigation showed that the temperature this morning was 5 degrees, ‘feeling like’ 0 degrees.  It turned out to be a good decision not to go to Leuven.  Throughout the journey, Tricky was brilliant.  Gear changes were smooth, he powered up hills, braked well on the downhill sections and was completely reliable and trustworthy.

Navigating the steps under the Brussels ring (yes, this is an official cycle route!) was no problem with light-weight Tricky.

Navigating the steps under the Brussels ring (yes, this is an official cycle route!) was no problem with light-weight Tricky.

Overall comments

Tricky is a true gem of a bike and the comfort he offers really is extraordinary.  I didn’t realise cycling could ever be this comfortable and it has been a most eye-opening experience.  He’s also nice and light but feels sturdy, which is good when cycling off road and having to carry him up and down steps.  I would trust him to serve me well on a long cycling tour and I will miss him a lot when he goes back to Oxford Bike Works.  But, would I pay £1200 for him?  Funnily enough, I might well do.  If I did, though, I would expect the following things as standard:

– double-sided pedals so I could clip-in when touring

– puncture-resistant tires

– a bell

– a ‘teaching’ session when collecting him on how to maintain him and carry out minor repairs i.e. tightening brakes

– a better saddle, specifically made for a woman.

Overall, having Tricky has been a really enjoyable experience.  Thanks Oxford Bike Works!

UPDATE: June 2014.  After 5 months of fun with Tricky, I couldn’t face parting with him so….I bought him.  Having a comfortable, light and sturdy bike is brilliant.  In July, we’re off for 3 weeks together on the Eurovelo 6.  I can’t wait!




About monveloetmoi

From my cosy base in Brussels, I cycle, swim, knit, bake, climb, walk and travel. I also work too but mainly so I have the means to enjoy my freetime!
This entry was posted in Cycling in Belgium, Foret des Soignes, Oxford Bike Works Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tricky-the-test-bike parts 2 & 3

  1. Richard Delacour says:

    I’d forgotten how gorgeous those forest tracks are.


  2. Martin James says:

    Hi, I am going to England to hopefully purchase a frame for a build. It is very useful to see a such a positive product review (I mean on Tricky). It would be great to own a machine that is nameworthy . I hope that all is going well and that you managed to fulfil your challenges!


    • monveloetmoi says:

      Hello. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m very lucky to ride a bike that is nameworthy! He’s almost 3 now and still as fab as ever. One thing I really like about him is that he’s actually quite little/short for a tourer and that makes it easy getting on trains etc (and in lifts! ) at the end of long trips. Lots of cycling challenges left and I hope Tricky will be going on an aeroplane at some time so we can traverse Canada together. Good luck with you frame purchase and happy cycling!


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