Completing the Troll build was great. I rode it without bar grips or tape for a few days then taped up the Velo Orange Crazy Bars with Lizard skin 3.2mm tape. Nice.
Riding it for a month or two I realised some shortcomings of the Rohloff; much to my chagrin. I really wanted the Rohloff to be bicycle perfection. It’s not. Sensitive to chain tension and axle position makes it annoying in terms of chain leaping off when racing over bumpy ground. This eventually resolved after the paint wore off the dropouts enough that the quick release had more friction underneath so that it stopped being pulled forward on the drive side because of take-off torque.
Then the fitness increase came and I was hitting that point where the effort to ride >25kph all the time was no longer bothersome and you get a flying feeling. That is until you crash and break your clavicle. 28mm of separation and a hook plate later I’m 6 weeks off the bike and missing it every day.
After reading an inspiring article on Rivendell Bikes about the greatness of merino clothing I took a chance, dropped over $50 on a base-layer and tried it out. I have not looked back. Modern merino superfine fabric is smooth, doesn’t itch, and retains little (if any) odour.
My first purchase was an Orca base-layer long sleeve.
Next was an Orca mid-layer and short-sleeve base-layer.
Last was an Icebreaker mid-layer longsleeve and a pair of trunk undies.
Every purchase was worth every cent.
Cycling was where the material really stood out. On a very cold morning I rode into work, 33kms, and had a puncture. I stopped and changed out the tube. At the time, about 70% of the distance, I was feeling slightly damp. When I took of my waterproof jacket steam was rising about my body. The cotton long-T was damp and it seemed the merino wicked all the moisture off my skin – that moisture in turn absorbed by the cotton long-T. After changing out the tube I realised that the merino against my skin was not in the slight bit damp.
For cycling merino is the best material I’ve found for against the skin. I’ve yet to try my merino trunks on the bike for anything more than 15 minutes so I can’t comment on its performance on long rides with those parts of your body that connect with the saddle.