Episode 210. Diamond Back Sorrento. (Part 2).

 Okay folks, the topic for todays words of mindless babble is my continuing relationship with Diamond Back bikes, more specifically, the Sorrento.

As you may remember the whole point of this bike was really just to use up some of the bike parts that I have accumulated in my stash. In the first place I really had no plans to mention this bike at all, I thought to myself that I would build it, then just sell it as an on going project. I really thought about just selling it and not riding it at all, but the little voice that keeps me awake every night had to know what this Diamond Back would be like to ride. I wasn't even sure what I was hoping for here. I mean, I guess I was hoping it'll be good straight off the bat to make up for how bad the Topanga was. But then again, if it was bad, then I'll not have to play with it anymore and can sell it straight away. Then go back to never needing to get my hands on a Diamond Back again. In theory it should be a win win situation for me, either I love it and ride it, or I hate it and sell it which means I got paid. Well so far I've not been paid. I did put it up for grabs, but it would seem  that at the moment, here in the UK the old mountain bike scene really hasn't taken off, and people still look at them as worthless old bikes, and prefer to just go to halfords and spend a small fortune on a cheap bike thats never going to be as good as these old bikes are. Fools! Although, maybe I should try that at some point, just to see if I'm missing out on something.

 

But not for the moment, for now lets stick to the problem erm, project in hand. So because the little voice wouldn't shut up, in the end I had to know, and so set off for a gentle bike ride in the warm Summer evening. I've got to say, that of all the times I ride through the year, the warm Summer evenings are definitely my favourite, if it wasn't for the amount of flies that seem to want to be eaten by me as I ride along I think it would be perfect. Disgusting things! But, from what I understand pound for pound they're a better source of protein than pretty much anything else! Still... I'm not sure they're my favourite thing to eat, let's not forget what they like to eat. Anyhoo, never mind that right now, you're probably more interested in what this junk was like to ride, right?

 

Average. Which I guess is better than terrible but that's about it. So what is the problem? Well, to be frank halfway through throwing this thing together I thought to myself that I was doing it wrong. Usually when I build I bike for myself I'll carefully dig through selecting all the parts that I think will be good, and work well together on my bike. But that's not what happened here because remember, originally I wasn't building this for me, I was building it to sell, so instead of thinking about what might make it good, I went straight for the box of bits which have all been removed from bikes from the very cheapest end of the spectrum (Think straight bars, torn saddles, grifter-shifters etc.) This is not to say these parts are rubbish, it's just that they all tend to be parts that I just wouldn't use on bikes that I plan to keep and use myself. I was making a bike that would be rideable, and complete, but that was as far as my plans for this thing were going to go. I think with a little more forethought, planning, and better parts I could've built something that isn't just averagely average, but is actually pretty sweet. Damn... I knew I shouldn't have ridden it! But here we are, I've done it now, the seed has been sown and already I've found myself thinking about what I should change first to improve this thing.

But apart from the bike being a bit on the average side I thought that the ride along my regular route was going quite well, I wasn't out to try and set a fast time, or not even my regular time as I couldn't get up to speed as it was just a bit too peopley out there. I just wanted to cruise along enjoying the warm Summer evening, and so I spent the majority of the time riding at little over walking speed as there was lots of walkers, lots of children who were walking, scooting, skating, skateboarding, and even cycling. And obviously there were lots of dogs who were on the loose, and sadly this brings my to my first 'kills' of 2022...

 

Actually, I'm going to stop referring to them as 'dog kills' as thankfully I don't actually kill the poor things, most of the time if I'm lucky I just clip them, so from here on in I'm going to refer to them as 'doggie strikes'. Anyway, it seems that I've been pretty lucky lately, as I've not actually had a doggie strike since early 2020, so over two years now as it's mid 2022. But the first two happened on the way out, and I got them as part of a buy one get one free deal I think. They were running alongside the river like they were having a race, but just as they raced past me their owner called them back and so without slowing down they turned across in front of me and headed back along the cycle route on the other side of the path, clipping my front wheel as they did so. I tried to stop but being medium sized dogs they did kinda dictate the direction I was traveling in when they hit the front wheel. I think they were OK, but my my calf muscle did get a bit of pedal interaction, so I guess I should just be glad that I fitted cheap-o plastic pedals as uncomfortable as it was, it probably would've been less comfortable if I'd have used some metal pedals. 
 
The third one was on the way home and I just didn't see coming, it was a far smaller type dog about the size of a cat. This little thing came flying out of the bushes like something was chasing it and ran straight into my back wheel. I heard the yelp more than I felt the bump, but this little things owner was ahead of me, and although I don't think she saw it as she was walking in the same direction as I was riding, she heard the yelp too. To say that she was unhappy about this little incident would be the understatement of the year I reckon. She was absolutely furious at me running over her poor little dog. I tried to explain that I didn't infact run her dog over, it ran into the side of my back wheel. But she was having none of it, in her opinion I was riding too fast, and not paying attention to what I was doing! I suggested to her that it might be worth her while keeping her dog on a lead in the future as she'd have more control over it, but by all accounts that was an unreasonable thing for me to suggest, and unfair on the dog... Hmm.

The thing is, despite it being over two years since my last doggie strike it seems to me that no matter how careful I am, or how hard I try, I can't actually avoid hitting a dog from time to time on my ride. The cyclepath where I ride is a wide paved area, which is shared by cyclists, walkers, skaters, dogs etc, and I try to ride accordingly. But for the most part when I do have some dog interaction it's often the dog owners fault for letting their dog run free on the cycle route, and not paying attention to what else is going on around them, very often they seem far too involved with what's happening on the phone in their hand to pay attention to what's going on in the world around them. So if I do happen to see a dog while I'm riding I always slow right down because I don't actually like hitting things when I ride. As firstly, I like dogs and other animals, and don't want to hurt them, and secondly, and just as importantly, I don't like falling off my bike, I've never been a big fan of that particular aspect of cycling. But having hit a few dogs over the years the owners do tend to react in various different ways. Some are extremely angry at you for hitting their dog, some are very apologetic to you for letting their dog knock you off your bike, and lastly some even will actually attack you. I think that to a degree all of these responses are understandable, but not all are acceptable. So what would actually be the answer here? Well, in my mind it would seem pretty simple, pay less attention to your phone, and more attention to the world around you. Secondly keep your dogs (other animals and small children) under control. You don't necessarily have to keep them on a lead (although I did with my children for a little while) but at the very least keep them close, or if not learn to keep an eye on them and train them to stop when you call out STOP or something. That sounds easy enough doesn't it? 

Anyway, that's probably enough ranting for now, and with any luck there will be no more doggie strikes this year, and hopefully for a very long time there after. So what are my plans for the Diamond Back Sorrento from here? Well, I'm pretty sure I'm opening up a can of worms here like I did with the Diamond Back Topanga, but I think I might try to improve it a little bit. I think I might try to be a bit more selective with the parts I put on it to see if I might be able to make it a bike that I actually like riding, rather than one that's just averagely average. Let's just hope that I don't end up making it slowly worse like I did to the Topanga, but as ever time will no doubt tell.

So until next time, have a great day gang... Lets ride!

 

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