SRAM AXS Groupset launch on Dartmoor
I’m not gloating when I say ‘I get to do a lot of cool stuff.’ I just really appreciate getting to ride my bike in attractive places, enjoy meeting friendly, fun, creative people and get excited about new kit. So I’m never not gonna think my job is cool.
At the tail end of last year I got a call that was pretty damn special by any standards. Along with a small crew of European riders – Marty Merrit, Yewie Adesida and Charles Nicholson (whom I know from racing fixed gear crits) I was selected to try out an incredibly super secret new SRAM product. Back then I was sworn to secrecy, the penalty for revealing even the smallest detail pretty much death. I can now tell you that it was SRAM’s new, innovative groupset, eTap AXS.
As the project absolutely had to remain under wraps until its February launch date, it was handy that Dartmoor, where we were shooting, was enjoying its usual mix of extreme weather – thick dark clouds one minute, rain the next and all of it interspersed with golden shafts of sunlight. Hidden in the landscape’s myriad pleats and folds we were able to ride our AXS equipped bikes on the open roads without fear of seeing anyone. Though the magical landscape is actually very accessible from neighbouring Exeter, it’s four-seasons-in-a-day climate and numerous tiny lanes are perfect for hiding in full view.
Along with the nearby coast, Dartmoor is one of the very reasons I live here in Devon. One of our crew, Kate, must have seen some incredible places through her role at SRAM and I found myself wondering what she thought of the area. Showing her around and seeing her excitement at the wild horses and cattle roaming the wild, windswept landscape I couldn’t help but feel proud of the beautiful National Park that I have the privilege of riding whenever I like.
We also visited a few of the local pubs including one of my absolute favourites, the Rugglestone Inn in Widecombe and one that’s new to me, the Ring of Bells in North Bovey. Both serve such good food that even those indoctrinated to believing British food sucks had their opinions reversed. We made sure that (once we had finished working) everyone got the try Doom Bar and Jail Ale, two of the best West Country brews, just so they got the full experience.
We didn’t have time for a cream tea but I’d have directed them to Home Farm just down from Haytor if we had – it’s one of the best places to stop for coffee and cake on a bike ride. Cafe 360 should get a mention here too for its amazing vegan cakes (try the peanut and banana one) and ample indoor bike parking (!) but I don’t think it has the correct ambience for a cream tea. But I digress.
It’s all too easy to get complacent about the places we get to ride all the time. I’d miss every bit of my existence were it taken away and do make a habit of reminding myself that. I love Dartmoor, the English seaside and fish n’ chips. Still, I’m guilty of getting bored of training rides on the same old routes (even though I do try not to be a grump) so showing visitors around is a really nice to be prodded back into appreciating your own everyday.
As I write this, I’m actually waiting in for delivery of my very own SRAM eTap AXS groupset and a new set of Zipp 303 wheels to go with it (you need an XT Driver with the new groupset). I can’t wait to kit out my custom Wyndymilla Saw Doctor with its new bling. Stay tuned for a video in Friday about the groupset, wheels and build. In the meantime, check out SRAM’s paean to Dartmoor here: