Still, you can't go through life with only six bikes, so I had to order another one. For a while I've been thinking about something to ride on the road in the winter. In the past I've used a combination of the Allez with Crud Road Racer guards, or the Scandal with slick tyres for when it got really messy and a bit more grip and disc brakes felt that little bit safer. I've also been thinking about a "bimble bike" - something that looks pretty and I don't mind riding slowly on. I always feel a bit odd doing gentle recovery rides on a carbon race bike.
Fate intervened and I was sent an email from Planet X, which included a build of their steel cross-ish frame, with disc brakes. Clearance for 32mm tyres, mudguard and rack mounts, plus it looks pleasingly retro. It's called a Kaffenback, because you can use it for going to the caf(e) and back.
It's a kind of metallic tan colour, bronze maybe? Contrast gold panels with white logos. Black bits. To me, it just looked right.
Tonight was the first ride (I'm not counting going up and down the road on the day it arrived to get the position right). It's been foul all day - windy, rainy, thunderstorms. The roads are covered in puddles, leaves, mud and general autumn crap. Ideal then.
I couldn't believe how smooth it is. I'm sure it's 99% down to the tyres but in my head I'll attribute it to it being steel and designed by master craftsmen in Yorkshire. Or somewhere like that. I was confident on the messy roads, the brakes worked, the mudguards guarded (...and rattled, but that's sorted now) and you know what? I felt great riding it at full on bimble pace.
Finally, I have a "recovery ride" bike. Now that's niche.