Tuesday, 22 July 2014

First ride on Bike Swanky's De Rosa Idol

Ever since returning from Seattle last September and having the opportunity to ride a road bike around town with my sponsor and buddy Brian Bartlett I have been thinking of getting one. I always thought "Me become a Roadie, No Way". My impressions of a roadie being  matching Lycra clad snobs, who never acknowledge you and think they own the road. However after having short go on a road bike I kind of saw the buzz, and whilst I don't go in for all the Lycra wear and I'm definitely not a snob, (you can't get much commoner than me)
 I can see the appeal of riding on the road as it's fast and you can keep up a good pace.

So moving along when I heard I had been approved for a running blade by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, then discovered that Arctic ONE where interested in what I was up to and wanted to help support me in my endeavours, well the next step was accepting the challenge of doing something I had never done before and that was a triathlon. 
Out on Bike Swanky's Demo De Rosa Idol
Now I have already taken part in an Arctic ONE organised duathlon, doing the bike part on my Fat Bike. WoW that was tough work. I have to get myself one of those skinny tired vehicles I thought. So after approaching a few different bike shops I eventually came across a company called Bike Swanky
Paul over at Bike Swanky was very positive from the start and listened with great interest as I explained almost my whole story, from taking ill to, having an elective amputation and then going on to be sponsored and supported by both Pace Rehabilitation and Brian Bartlett over at Left Side Inc
Then of course there were all the other people and companies, charities in between.Kath n Kedan over at  Bike Bag Dude , Challenged Athletes Foundation and of course Arctic ONE . Of course there are many more people who I owe a great deal of thanks to, however if I mention everyone it will be like one of those Oscar winning speeches.
Originally I ordered a Blue and White De Rosa Idol with Paul at Bike Swanky, unfortunately
De Rosa though they have the bike advertised on their website don't have the bike available until the 2015/16 season. This left me a little fed up to say the least as I had set my heart on that particular colour option. I then discussed options with Paul as I was becoming a little, or should that be a lot, stressed. I needed to get sorted with a bike so I could practice and get some road time in, before my Tri down at Dorney Lake on the 23rd August. Well today Paul arranged for a demo De Rosa Idol to be sent up to me to try out. I wasn't sure what size to go for, eventually opting for the 54.5, which actually works out as a 56. Today I have found a few teething problems on my first ride out, one of which is that I am just not used to riding a road bike. They are so light that I appear to wobble all over the place when setting off. Another huge concern that I have discovered is that my prosthetic foot actually catches the front tyre if I have the pedals level and turn the front wheel to the left. The catch is so bad that I have actually wrecked a brand new pair of Bont cycling shoes I managed to pick up, so proper gutted. I'm now thinking I maybe should have opted for the 57cm frame and will be talking to Paul about this as well as a proper bike fit.
Today's ride was a relatively short one on the Idol, really I just wanted to see how I would get on, what with the style of the bike and as I was also trying out a new check socket that i had just received from Pace Rehabilitation. I'm not even sure how far I went as my dam Strava app on my phone isn't working. I haven't been able to log any activities for a few weeks now.

Anyhoo first impressions of the bike are good I just need to feel more confident, especially with the riding position.

I did manage to gain quite a bit of speed, did some out of the saddle climbing and fairly motored up some hills and along one of our local bypasses. I'm non to keen on all the nutters in cars here abouts, riding on the roads is much more dangerous than any trail lol

I called in to see my Aunty Claire and Uncle Dave then rode home, the worst part of my journey being on the dual carriage way at Stanley...OMG is that road bumpy. you don't notice it in a car, but on a bike I think I rattled a few fillings loose...

Trying out my new check socket
Down Wilka's Bank Wheeeeee!
Down past Quakies
Up the Moor Bank

Near the top of the Arch


  1. You forgot to mention the photographer who took these daring shots.

  2. Glad to see the bike turned up at last and you've had the chance to road test it. Onwards and upwards my friend :)

  3. whats your verdict ? i am trying to decide between a bartlett and motoknee for snowboarding. but i am also a road biker and want a dual purpose knee that is water proof. Can you stand and pedal uphill on a barlett. i currently use a total knee but do all my riding in the saddle. it can be a big pain for long rides. look me up strava for bionic man. http://www.strava.com/athletes/3146358

  4. Hi

    I can't really compare the Bartlett Tendon and the Motoknee as I haven't used the Motoknee, so it wouldn't be fair to do so.

    I can tell you that I used to ride on a Total Knee when I first started out riding again in 2008 and the difference between a Total Knee and a BTK is worlds apart. I now feel complete on my BTK, it gives me a huge range of movement on my bikes and I can set it up for what ever cycling activity I am doing, from road to mountain biking. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to snowboard so again I'm not much use there in doing a comparison. I do know that a lot of guys really enjoy the progressive feel of the BTK for boarding and skiing.

    Cycling wise I can take in drops and jumps, sprint out of the saddle and yes ride up hill out of the saddle, however this is hard work. The BTK isn't an easy fix solution, it requires a lot of practice, however what you put in and what you get back is amazing.

    I am sponsored on the unit, however I am no salesman. I suggest if possible talk to as many people as possible and see if you can get the opportunity to try both knees and go with personal preference. Hope this helps



  5. thats good to know. how does one get sponsored ? i wouldnt mind getting sponsored :) so whats your verdict about BTK against a total knee 2100 esp for road biking over long distance and uphill ?

  6. To get sponsored, well it's about putting yourself out there. I was just really lucky in that when I became sponsored by Brian I first contacted him a good few months before his knee became available to the general public. The knee hadn't gone into production. At the time I was being supported by an awesome private clinic called Pace Rehabilitation and with the help of Pace and Strathclyde University we were able to get Brian over to do a presentation. It was like fate in a way. I saw Brian on Youtube and established the initial contact and it went from there.

    My advice is to set yourself some short, medium and long term goals and focus on these if your chatting to any potential sponsors. Then just approach who ever you may think can help you. Explain your goals and what you can offer them.

    Me for example I'm by no means and elite athlete, however that doesn't mean that has to go against me. I use the angle if an ordinary guy like me can do it, then so can Joe Bloggs in the street.

    I also try to not just focus on myself I enjoy promoting disability awareness and intend to work alongside an amazing charity named Arctic ONE well into the foreseeable future.

    My Facebook group has also offered me great support and opportunities and things like blogging about your story and getting the support of people also helps. It's just about finding a unique angle on why you should be sponsored and supported. The people who are willing to help, give up lots of valuable time and effort so you need to be prepared to return that by attending any events or promoting their companies and products in a positive manner.

    There is no real comparison between the BTK and the Total Knee as they are made to do different jobs. For instance I use a Total Knee in my everyday life, working as an assistant physiotherapist, however when it comes to riding the choice is clear BTK all the way. I could never ride using a Total Knee again after being on the BTK, that is how different they are. As for distance when riding I can adjust my BTK and go just as far on it as a Total Knee, however I could never adjust a Toatl Knee to do what a BTK can do.