Each month Stephen (the new tea boy/customer service guru) from NorthRoad Cycles is trying to ride with at least one member of the NorthRoad family. In this, the first installment of what we hope will be a long-lived tradition, Stephen met up with new NorthRoad Explorer owner David. In the spirit of lockdown, their encounter was brief, local, and socially distanced. Our genuine and sincerest thanks go out to David for making the effort. Our GPS units had readings down to -5 at some points.
Hello! What’s your name, what do you do, and where do you come from?
Hiya! I’m David, I’m an Apple Genius (no, honestly), and I’m based a few miles north of Manchester.
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee please, a dash of milk, no sugar.
Shame we’re up a hill in Lancashire with about 10 metres of visibility, a few inches of snow, and freezing fog then, isn’t it?
I can’t feel my feet.
We’ll crack on then. Tell me a little bit about your history with cycling?
I used to mountain bike a lot as a kid and a younger man. I used to love the technical downhill bits but I had a few back problems a few years ago that put an end to that - I hadn’t really been into it for a while anyway. As these things often happen, I found myself carrying a bit more weight than I wanted - in fact, it was only 5 years ago I was over 20 stone, a big lad! Something had to change and I became a bit of a gym bunny and started road cycling, I haven't really looked back since. I’m a ride leader for Rapha and even in lockdown I can’t tell you how great it is having the camaraderie within our cycling communities. Most of my riding is around Manchester, I was due a trip out to Lanzerote in 2019 but blew out my knee just a few weeks before hand which meant I spent the whole trip rehabbing - Which included lots of booze and lounging, it was tough.
Do you have a fondest cycling memory?
It’s a very fond memory, in fact, but borne of a very sorry situation. Like many others, I lost a really great friend last year. I hosted a tribute to his memory in summer and it was just one of the most beautiful things, seeing 35 riders, all smiling quietly to themselves, all adhering to social distance guidelines and everyone just being there to honour one of the loveliest chaps we’d ever known. I remember specifically the climb up Holme Moss, and the subsequent descent. I screamed all the way down. It was joy and adrenaline and I suspect, in it’s own small way, a little bit of my grief externalised and left to the universe.
Tell me about your NorthRoad bike!
I have an Explorer with a GRX 800/600 mix. 40t chainring, 11-42 cassette, Prime Kanza Handlebars, Supakaz bar tape, NorthRoad Carbon 30mm wheels, it’s a beast.
What made you choose NorthRoad?
It’s so important for me to be able to tailor things to the way I want them. I have a Canyon that I purchased prior to the Explorer, every time I reached out to them for something I just got a stock reply back. I get it! They stack ‘em high and sell ‘em (relatively) cheap. But when you’re looking for something as personal as a bicycle, I just couldn’t find the spec I wanted without buying a load of things I didn’t want, taking them off, then spending more time and money finding the things I did want.
When I met Ian and Jane I really loved the fact it was just them, they’re fantastic listeners, and although I’m probably a bit picky compared to most, nothing was ever too much trouble. I had reams and reams of notes and saved pictures that I compiled to try and accurately get across my vision and they knocked it out of the park. It was really an incredible experience.
If you could cycle anywhere in the world, with anyone, who and where?
Interesting! I think I’d like to cycle the dusty trails of Morroco with my Grandad, bikepacking style. I was 18 when he passed and all my memories are of him and his scooter. He used to sit me on his scooters when I was little and it wasn’t until a few years ago I found a load of photos of his younger self - astride a racing bike with baggy pants and an open shirt with a car style headlight on the front! I had never known he’d cycled.
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