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10 7月 2019

Bridge To Bridge: A Journey Across America

During April 2019, amateur cyclist Roper Peckham-Cooper completed a USA coast to coast ride to benefit the Diana Award (a UK based charity) completing the 3,300 mile (5346 km) ride in 33 days. Roper rode an average of 77 miles a day through headwinds, rain, extreme heat and everything else thrown at him. His goal was realized after starting on the Brooklyn Bridge and finishing in San Francisco riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. Thus, the Bridge to Bridge Challenge benefiting the Diana Award was accomplished.

Full Speed Ahead and Vision supported Roper, along with Mini Cooper, Rapha, and Stanridge bikes. FSA and Vision helped complete his custom built Stanridge Titanium road frame with Metron 40 TL wheels, K-Force cockpit and the recently released FSA WE electronic drivetrain. Roper was solely supported by his fiancé, who drove along with him in a Mini Cooper providing technical support and any emergency assistance during the ride.

The remainder of this article covers how Roper became involved in this charity ride, his perspective of how the ride progressed, and his thoughts on each bike part that FSA and Vision provided. All of this was after riding non-stop for 33 days covering 3,300 miles and without any mechanicals, aside from a worn-out chain that was replaced.

 

 

The Ride Report
“It all started back at my school in the UK, as an energetic 14-year-old, when I completed a cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for the NSPCC. Following that ride, the Headmaster at the time nominated me for the Diana Award, of which I subsequently received. The Award was set up as a legacy for Diana, Princess of Wales, with the mission to empower, inspire, recognize and support young people. Being part of the Award was a fantastic opportunity and opened so many doors for me. It was only natural that I wanted to give something back.”

“Two years ago, my fiancé and I decided to move to New York to follow a great work opportunity with my job. Although the Diana Award is a UK based charity it does have a global program. So given it is a big milestone for them in their 20th year this year, I was inspired to do something impactful to raise both money and awareness in the US for the Award. The Bridge to Bridge challenge was born.”

“The transcontinental cycle from Brooklyn Bridge (New York) to the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) is a 3,300-mile trip passing through 14 states and climbing as high as 7,335 feet (Arizona continental divide). The target pace for the trip is to churn through an average of 77miles a day, in order to complete the challenge in 45 days (2 rest days included). In preparation for the ride, I reached out to several companies and many have become partners without whom we would not have come to fruition.”

“These sponsors include; Rapha – the best in cycling kit, MINI USA – provided a MINI Countryman as the support vehicle, Stanridge Cycles – a custom bike was created and fitted for me, ACME Bicycle Co. – providing the custom fit measurements and precise set up for the bike, Full Speed Ahead (FSA) and Vision – a leading bike component manufacturer providing all of the core elements for the bike, and GoPro – key to documenting the ride effectively.”

“I am thrilled to have completed the cycling journey and now it’s been two weeks, I’m still trying to work out how I’m feeling about it. Ultimately, it’s something I’m so glad to have taken on, pushed through and completed – I would recommend it to anyone. Though I’d probably caveat that recommendation with the advice that it’s much wiser to go from West to East as you’ll have more of a tail wind while riding.”

“Over the course of the ride, there have been some real highs (not just in elevation) as well as some lows, which can only be expected. The weather has played a large part, though more so than I perhaps envisaged. The first day, 30th March, lulled us into a false sense of security with a mild 64°F coming off the back of a long NYC winter. But the winter came back with a vengeance as it dropped down to 28°F in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Once we started to drop down through Kansas the temperature was much kinder, but it brought with it the wind instead. The flat (literally as a pancake) terrain, with very little protection, resulted in headwinds of up to 25mph to battle through. This was also matched at the end of the trip by the coastal “breeze” scything in from the Pacific Ocean. At points you feel like you are just cycling on the spot. Several times on the ride I was asked why I am not riding West to East in order to travel with the wind. Well…perhaps next time…”

Components List
- FSA WE (electronic) groupset
- Crankset – SL-K Super Compact 48/32
- Cassette – FSA 11-28t
- Wheelset – Vision 40 Metron TL Carbon
- Brakes – SL-K rim brakes
- Chain – Team Issue 11 SPD

Components Overview
“The groupset was solid and worked extremely well in a lot of different conditions. I found the changing to be seamless, very few adjustments were made, and it ran almost entirely flawlessly for the majority of the 3,300 miles across varying terrains. Having linked it up to a light, custom made frame by Stanridge was a beautiful combination. Of course, I should call out the wheels which were sensational and, again, dealt with everything that was thrown at them. Overall, it was fantastic to have these components as part of the Bridge to Bridge transcontinental challenge. We put them to the test in a short space of time and they excelled.”

FSA WE Electronic Groupset
“The communication between the shifters and derailleurs was seamless. I never ran out of battery, and even when the battery life was getting slightly lower, I did not find this had an impact on connection between the shifters and the derailleurs. The light indicators were useful to understand the battery level, connection being received between the parts, and any issues when they did arise could be dealt with quickly. Whenever the lights went green, I would charge up the pack that night, this was very simple and didn’t take long. Boring side note - the length of the charger pack (read – long) was great given some remote locations and minimal charging points in places. Unfortunately, one of the mechanics when building the bike did pinch the cable for the derailleur which didn’t cause a problem; but I’d call out this as one to watch for anybody using it and changing their wheels regularly. Not a big thing, just an anecdotal footnote.”

“Another positive mention would be the easy link up with the data, stats and information with the K-Force WE app. This allows a connection to your bike computer – pulling in further information around your cadence and shifts – and allows you to tweak/customize your set up for the shifters. A neat add on that helped me tailor the experience a little more. The app was simple and easy to use, plus it’s always great to get more data and information.”

“All in, I loved cycling with this groupset, it was very easy to use (it took a small bit of getting used to, but nothing major) and performed well across the 43 days. There were a couple of instances where it seemed a bit glitchy, but I will come to that next.”

Nothing’s perfect
“As always, especially on a longer distance, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way, and whilst the groupset was nearly infallible there were a few instances where it came unstuck. The most common (and by that, I mean it happened 2-3 times) was a loss of communication to the rear derailleur. This only happened on extremely rough roads and once at high speed. The ultimate reason was the lead into the rear derailleur coming slightly loose. The system relies on a neat locking action for the power lead to the rear and tightened with small screw to keep in place. I’m pretty sure this came loose as I failed to recheck the rear screw to retighten after days on the road. The beauty of the system is that once placed back in, tightened and the system reset (simple process linked to the buttons on the CPU unit) we were ready to go. Easy fix.”

“The only other slight issue I had, later into the ride, was the loss of the top two gears on the rear. This only happened once, and a quick fix was to reset the system and click through the gears to get everything lined up again. The first time it happened was on a bit of a climb, but ultimately meant I was out of the saddle sooner than anticipated. In the grand scheme of things not a problem but one to call out.”

“Overall, these were very minor and didn’t hugely impact the ride and my views of the groupset, which, as you know, I thoroughly enjoyed riding.”

Handlebars
“One of the easily overlooked parts of the bike are, in my opinion, the handlebars. I think for a ride like this they’re key. Having worked closely with ACME bicycles in Brooklyn for the fit and Stanridge we worked out the right set up and the handlebars were ferociously comfortable. As you can imagine, the second week or so took a bit of a toll on the pads of my hands but nothing like I’ve had on previous rides using different components. The K-Force Compact handlebars look great with a sleek design, and they felt great to hold. I spent a solid amount of time resting on them – default position was up and on the hoods – for around 4-5 hours a day. They’re also a compact design which makes them feel slight and light in your hand, adding to the sense of responsiveness of the bike all together.”

The Wheels
“Hands down one of the best parts of working with FSA and Vision were the selection of wheels on the roster. After some deliberation and discussion with the team at FSA and Standridge Speed we selected the Vision Metron 40 TL Carbon wheelset. These are beautiful wheels – extremely light, very durable (as tested by sections of the Dirty Kanza and unintended New Mexico trails) and fast. Overall, these were the right choice given the range of road surface, weather types and speed on the ride. There’s no doubt the increased rim size resulted in a bit of movement for the crosswinds of Kansas and Illinois, but they handled everything effectively.”

“The wheels felt fast, responsive and precise. They could flex well to the change of pace when needed and felt good quite zipping round corners on the big downhills. Wind was a huge factor in this cycle, though a lot of it was quite the juicy headwind the extended rims on these Vision Metron’s sliced through it like butter, with very little buffeting, movement or trouble.”

“They are a slick set of wheels and ones I can’t wait to get back out on round the roads of Manhattan now I’m back.”

Deeper detail and thoughts
“I’m not going to lie, cycling across the US was always going to be a challenge (that was the intention) and the FSA WE groupset was ready for that. A lot of headwind and varying terrain meant that I was frequently clicking through shifts. My average mileage per day broke down to be 77 miles. This builds up to a total of 3,287 miles across 43 days of cycling. There were many hours on the bike that allowed me to get a proper sense of what the machine (Stanridge), and its parts could do. The maximum speed was 42mph and the quickest average speed was 19mph for a day of 105 miles. I give you a small sense of the stats (along with the WE stats) to create a broader picture of the ride.”

“A big test, for flying through the gears early on, were the Appalachians, whilst my training had prepared my cardio to a decent point, this was a real test for the legs and therefore the gears. I was putting through a lot of torque whilst clicking down steadily and trying to keep the right cadence to get up some of those chunky climbs. And rarely getting out of the saddle until a high gradient or the tail-end of the climb. Ultimately, the gears stood up to these early brutish climbs and the speed between pressing the shifter and shift was great. It was slick and quick throughout, when I hit the right point and cadence it was pretty flawless, and the components sung beneath me.”

– Roper Peckham-Cooper

  • FSA 13
  • FSA 2
  • FSA 24

Here are some very interesting metrics from Roper’s ride pulled from the WE Dashboard App. This is a comprehensive application that not only shows metrics from the system, but also diagnostics in terms of updating the system, changing of functionality, etc. downloadable for both Android and IOS platforms.

 

 

 

 

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