cielo - that all important first ride

deb's soya cappucino

take a look at the photo beside these words. that's a soya cappuccino unashamedly scoffed at debbie's in bruichladdich this very afternoon. soya milk makes a far better trough of froth than standard milk, and thus i can indulge my non-dairy preference with a smug grin on my face and a white moustache on my top lip. you pretty much have to agree that the cupful thus illustrated would be well worth a few miles of anyone's time. but as if the gold at the end of the rainbow were not enough, the chariot du jour only added muchly to the afternoon's enjoyment.

the sram white bar tape arrived a couple of days ago, preceded by a couple of those black ten-speed power links required to join the sram ten-speed chain. this latter component was necessary because the klutz assembling it (not a million miles from here) cut the chain too long, and you can't remove one of these blighters without destroying it. so, chain fitted, brake cables swapped to the other side of the road, it was time to cover the plumbing with bar tape. white tape, in this instance, has to be considered mandatory: this is no ordinary bicycle; this is a chris king bicycle, and, as everyone knows (or ought to), the man in charge of telling the world is mr chris distefano, one of the finest human beings on the planet. ask anyone. and cd has decreed that coloured tape is only fit for articles such as tennis rackets: bicycle handlebars should be clothed in white. i am not man enough to disagree; and to be honest, white tape with a black bike is very hard to beat.

cielo down tube

courtesy of glory cycles in columbia, south carolina, a honey coloured brooks team pro saddle with copper rails now sits atop the seatpost. having fitted oval concepts traditional bars and stem, i thought it seemly to match these with an oval concepts r700 seatpost, but as that has yet to arrive, for the time being the saddle is being supported by a pro series aluminium alloy post.

wrapping bar tape, whether white or not, is not a frequent occurrence at washingmachinepost cottage, so the realisation that the left side, having been wrapped from the front, was wrapped the wrong way, simply delayed my start time and increased the longing for that soya cappuccino. there might still be one section of wrap that hasn't overlapped in quite the manner intended, but since it's on the inside of the bend, i won't tell if you don't.

to put all this in context, i have ridden carbon for the last seven years, with one or two brief exceptions when it comes to review bikes. the cielo is all steel, without even a carbon fork as a token gesture to contemporaneity, so trepidation would be a reasonable word to describe wheeling through the frost and sand mix that currently constitutes our front pathway.

cielo at debbie's

the doubters amongst you will be wondering why all the hue and cry over a bicycle that i have already had the pleasure of riding and writing about during one great week in may last year. this is not exactly the same bike, nor is the build the same, but i take your point. however, the terrain is substantially different to that of portland; the cielo in oregon was used predominantly as a commuter. no different to here, come to that, but between bowmore and bruichladdich, there is not a single set of lights, precious few cars, and i can ride on my side of the road without having to follow cd to make sure i don't get lost. more importantly, these are roads that have been well trammeled on carbon, well enough, in fact, to have ingrained memory for comparison with steel.


it's really the only adequate word. i'm sure there's an even better one, but my lexicon is deficient in that department. this is one of the most beautiful bicycle rides my saturday afternoons have ever experienced. that may sound insubstantially uncritical, and a trifle gushy, but this was the first ride, and all that was asked of the cielo was to get from a to debbie's and back to a. i had no intention of giving it welly on the brief hills en route: let's just wait till i know everything is bolted and clamped in a manner that offers no release.

what i was watching, both literally and mentally, were those r45 wheels. my existing ck wheelset rolls so smoothly, that it would be very hard to notice any improvement when that cappuccino was centred in the head up display. however, both wheels feature only twenty eight spokes (sharp intake of breath), chris king cielo built two-cross at the front, three-cross at the rear. i'd suspect that sort of build to be less resilient than my usual footwear, but perhaps it's the 25c continental four seasons, or maybe it's just because they're just such damn fine wheels, that all roads lead to gliding again. is it possible that love between a cyclist and his wheelset can ever be accepted in modern society?

so that's the first ride over, not done with, but over. a bottle-less ride because i awaited a king (no relation) stainless steel bottle cage (what else?) for the down tube; it arrived in the afternoon post, so the second ride can be hydrated: it's a style thing.


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chris king components | cielo by chris king

chris king cielo

posted saturday 9 january 2010