My club do an annual or possibly so it seems a three times a summer road ride where people bring out their play bikes and their weird toys and we hit the trails, the bridleways and the cobbles. I went on this today and took the hybrid, an odd choice, it would seem, judging by the 80% turnout of cyclocross bikes along with a smattering of road bikes, hard tails and as incongruous as my own, a full suss.
It was just so much fun. Abolishing the required lycra, giddily sporting rucksacks, baggy clothing, all the things you wouldn't normally see on our oh so serious image conscious rides. The hybrid is a fairly heavy beast compared to some, and it was oddly interesting to see how it handled life in grupetto of road and cyclocross bikes. It wasn't bad. Once it got up to speed it wasn't bad. It made me work hard to regain the group should I lose it (ever corner, must look at that ...), but once I was back on then everything was fine, warp speed maintained. I worked hard, and the bike worked hard. By the end of the ride (well, in honesty at the cafe stop) a bit of experimentation led me to the assessment that my back brake had given up making any effort at all. It maybe slowed me a little but I suspect that unless on an uphill it would never in a million years stop me. A few years ago that sort of behaviour would have me worried and panicing. Nowadays I just take it in my stride, figure out how to manage a combination of slight slowing from the back along with judicious use of the front brake, and mostly it worked out.
I have, now, however, ordered a new bike. A cyclocross bike. It's steel and it has disc brakes. That'll show 'em I think.
And to close with a phrase used by one of the old wizened skinny dudes in my group. I know where I am, but not where I'm going. I kind of like that.