Well, I have gone and done it. Just bought myself a brand new bike. Other than a few trips to work and back on my cheap £99.00 mountain bikes over my 30 year working life, the last time I rode regularly was over 30 years ago and that was to school and back and my paper round. I chose the Dawes Ultra as my research told me that an athlete I am not, so an aluminium or carbon fibre framed feather light bike was not for me and an Audax half-way house, doesn't know if it is a racing bike or a touring bike, also presented me with pause for thought. As soon as I stumbled across the Dawes I knew I had found the bike that matched my character. Ok, much heavier but with a 25 Kilo capacity on the rear I knew I could at least get my rain jacket, flask of tea, camera and butties on the bike. The cost of the bike came in at £1799.00 but, with a clever bit of research, I found one sitting on a shelf in Halifax, brand new and at £1,299. As the only frame size available was the size I needed, a 53 cm and 500 quid off, I could hear the angels singing and pressed the add to shopping cart button within a nano-second. I then had face up to and convince the wife, but that is another story and she may start speaking to me again in a few weeks! So why take such a chance and spend a small fortune on bike? A few things, first of all the beer belly, it has to go. Secondly, mental health, I just need some time when it is just me. I seem to live between work and home. Third, I have just turned 47 and apart from my Bee-keeping, which I love dearly, I need a more energetic hobby. I love to set myself challenges so I find it fun to set-mini challenges like yesterday; all I had to do was stay in the saddle for an hour. Have you ever tried to ride a bike on a brand new Brooks 17 Leather Saddle? I am assured it will end up as one of the worlds most comfortable saddles, after about a thousand miles. At the moment at the 26 mile point it feels like I am sitting on a concrete post. I managed half an hour then stopped for a quick drink and a bum rest. Had my first comedy moment when I tried to re-clip. Clipped my left foot in but forgot to get up a bit of speed before I clipped my right foot in; you can guess what happened next? The bike started to lean left, I shouted out a rather rude expletive and the next moment I was in the gravel. first scratch on a three day old bike to the left hand brake lever, gravel rash on my left hand and a slightly sprained wrist, still, no one saw me which was a bit of a conciliation but I bet there is someone in a passing car with a funny story to tell . I am really interested if any of you have a touring bike, especially the same as mine or similar, to hear what you think of the bike or any tips you may have. So far I have added a pair of Altura Arran 36 Panniers, a Cateye Velo Wireless Cyclocomputer CC-VT200W and front and rear Radian high intensity lights. One question I have, my tyres are Schwalbe Marathon 700 x 32c with Green Guard. Can any one advise on what is the best tyre pressure to run on these tyres? Life is full of lessons and today's lesson, following my 8 miler is, when on a bike hold your breath when you go past a large road kill! Well, tomorrow is Sunday and I am hoping to go out in the morning for 3 hours, that is tomorrows mini-challenge; I will let you know how I get on. It turns out that that from my house, just down the road about a mile away, I cross the Meridian time line, I have always thought this as rather cool. Also, about 6 miles away I can join the Sustrans Route 1 here in Lincolnshire. This is a rote that mainly runs up the East coast of the UK from Dover to the Shetland Islands. Tomorrow I will be riding to the river Wytham and join with Route 1 for the first time heading toward Lincoln. An hour and a half out and the same to return, with a small cafe stop somewhere in the middle. Wish me luck and I will let you know how I get on. Happy cycling to every one and may the winds stay on your back and the roads remain smooth and downhill. Regards, Cycle Bikel.