After all of the climbing yesterday, I wanted a flatter, easier ride today. After stopping at the club to fill my bottles, I headed south to the river delta, and west along the north arm of the Fraser River. It is a 20 km ride out, and 20 km back hugging the scenic shoreline. Flat, yes. Easy, no. Why is it when I have a headwind going out, I also have one coming back? Aren’t there tailwinds any more? The ride was a grind like a 40 km climb. But this post is not about the flat terrain. It is about the flat sections on the top of my carbon handlebars.
This style of bar has 3 purposes:
- They are designed to be more aerodynamic. If this is the case, it is minimal because the rider’s body is immediately behind the bars.
- The oval like cross section strengthens the carbon composite. This makes sense. You may gain a little weight with the larger cross section but the bar can withstand more force, particularly when sprinting.
- The flat sections are more comfortable when holding onto the tops of the bars. This is particularly helpful during long climbs as it opens the chest making it easier to breath rhythmically and deeply.
I had forgotten how much I like riding with my hands on the tops of these bars. They fit into my palms like a glove, and are the perfect width for me. I rode on the tops most of yesterday, and today. Even when I am not climbing, it is more comfortable than being on the hoods, or on the drops. When I’m battling a wind, or want speed, I’ll get on the drops trying to become more aerodynamic. When I’m negotiating tight, fast turns, I prefer to be on the hoods so that I can quickly brake if necessary. In fact, I like the variety these three positions provide, but I prefer the tops and had forgotten how comfortable it was.
You can tell I ride on the tops a lot. You can see the bar tape is dirtier there than on the drops. Some would say I need to replace the bar tape, or at least clean it. I keep this bike pristine. I clean the chain before most every ride, and wash the bike weekly. More frequently when necessary. But I never touch the tape. It’s like a right of passage. It’s confirmation that I work hard on the bike, and I’m proud of that.
Call me daft 🙂