Sadly many teenage girls abandon cycling altogether. Others might want a new road or mountain bike after outgrowing their old machine. Coming from a cycling family, Emily Edwards had a different idea. "I wanted a new touring bike," she said.
At 16, this was to be her first genuinely new bike. "My Tour de Fer is my first adult-sized bike and my first with drop handlebars," she said. "When I first started touring, I was on the back of a tandem with my dad. Being the third child in the family, all of my other bikes have been old hand-me-downs. This was my first chance to choose my preferred option."
Being the third child in the family, all of my other bikes have been old hand-me-downs.”
She drew up a shortlist of practical bikes with her dad. She had two stipulations: not black or silver, and available in store rather than online so she could try it out. They settled on Genesis’s 2015 Tour de Fer, available in red and looking both sensible and contemporary.
"The other contenders were the Cinelli Bootleg Hobo and the Genesis Croix de Fer," Emily said. While she liked the look of the Croix de Fer a lot, she was persuaded by the lower gears available on the tourer, which comes with mountain bike sized chainrings.
"The wide-ranging gears are very easy to change," Emily said. ‘It is comfortable and rides smoothly.’ Being a tourer, it already had the mudguards and luggage racks that Emily would need, both for holidays and for cycling around Edinburgh. "I like being able to use a pannier and often end up carrying my friends’ belongings too,"she said.
The Tour de Fer is Emily’s one bike for travel and transport. "As well as using my bike to get around town, I enjoy cycle touring with my family and friends," she said. "In April I stayed in the CTC Albert Watson Memorial Hut in the Borders and completed a 50-mile circular route past St Mary’s Loch. Our family summer holiday this year is a cycle tour in Bavaria."
In common with many smaller-framed bikes with 700C wheels, Emily’s 52cm Tour de Fer has some toe overlap. That, she said, is the only thing she would change about it. "I would increase the distance between the front wheel and the pedals as I have to be a bit cautious when turning sharply to make sure my feet don’t collide with the wheel."
Having tried the bike for size before purchasing it, Emily has made few changes to it. "I have removed the front carrier and third bottle cage, neither of which I was using, to reduce unnecessary weight," she said, "and I have added a bike computer and lights."