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 http://www.solitudecycles.co.uk/

Without further ado here are the pics: -