This weekend I took delivery of my new custom built Solitude Cycles stainless lugged Audax frame. Brought right to my door in exchange for only a cup of tea! That's the kind of guy Alex is and it makes it a pleasure to do business with him.

I used to ride a lovely carbon EPX road bike but it never really fulfilled the requirements of an all day bike. A 20 mile head down blast was fantastic but I always knew an audax style build was what I needed for those super long silly rides.

It seemed only right then after all the encouragement I gave Alex in the beginning to sell his soul at the cross roads to start SC that I should commission a frame :¨)

The project has been a while in the making due to a number of factors ranging from my indecision (choosing a colour is hard!) to getting hold of the right lugs etc. To be fair to Alex I told him to work on it as his lowest priority job so that is in no way a slur on SC. In fact having had plenty of time to think about it, talk to Alex and get things tweaked etc. I feel more confident that it will build into exactly what I expect as opposed to him magic-ing one out of the back of the van!

Still, there is only so many times you can tell yourself that half the pleasure is in the anticipation. I was literally jumping up and down with childish excitement when Alex arrived with the bubble wrapped beauty! I quickly set about getting some mucky paw prints on her (Rosie) and dirtying my t-shirt with wax-oil :¨D

My first impressions... I was immediately wowed at how light she is. I'm sure Alex can tell you exactly what the different tubing is, I tend to leave that kind of tech stuff to him. He tried to give me a metallurgy class once before but I tend to zone out and then say inane things like "just make it light but not break with a lardy git on top of it". I don't know quite how heavy I thought it would be but she is a wee slip of a girl. The stainless lugs are just what I wanted and all polished up nicely - I must make sure I don't sweat on them :-o The paint looks great and the paint shop have done a reasonable job of painting up to the lugs. I can only imagine what a ***** of a job that was so I wont quip if it isn't perfect under a magnifying glass. The decal is also just how I asked for it to be, fairly subtle and in a suitable olde script befitting a retro tourer/audax frameset.

Am I happy with it? Hell yes! The big test of course is getting it built and then swinging a leg over to see if she fits. Unfortunately you will have to watch this space for that part of the report. Over the months that Alex and I have talked about this project I have managed to order/buy exactly zero parts for it! Shame on me :¨( My plan is to mix the olde with the new and trick it out with as much Bonty carbon goodness as possible and a Campag drive train.

You can catch up with what Alex is doing via his Blog and get the lowdown on Solitude Cycles by surfing along to

Without further ado here are the pics: -