Me & My Bike – Darren Gill & his Pinarello Marvel
My Italian love affair began in 1996 whilst watching a strange two-wheeled sporting event that was beamed into our front room on Channel 4 every night. The event in question was, of course, the Tour De France and that year it was won by Danish rider Bjaren Riis on a Pinarello Paris.
I became instantly addicted to watching Team Telekom riders Riis, Ulrich and Zabel climbing and sprinting their way to victory across the best that France could throw at them onboard their pink and white Pinarellos. At the time these were amazing athletes to me but the less said about them the better after later revelations of their drug taking. Nevertheless, my interest in the bikes which were being ridden in this Tour continued, and finally in 2003 I purchased my first Tour steed, a Pinarello Prince SL.
Over the years I‚Äôve owned four Pinarello‚Äôs from the early noughties and the latest to come into my possession is my Pinarello Marvel from 2003.¬†Made from T6 Aluminium with a carbon Ondo fork (an upgrade from the standard Beta forks) and carbon rear seat stays. The frame is brightly coloured is a retro kinda way and the Marvel is a real head turner. The groupset is a Campagnolo Athena 11-speed. Deda bars and stem carry on the Italian theme and a pair of Mavic Ksyruim SL wheels move the bike along.
Although bike technology has raced on to carbon and left aluminium at the back of the bunch, there is still much pleasure to be had from riding this lightweight material and, as such, I have stayed with it in all my current bikes.¬†Trying to find a Pinarello from this era is becoming increasingly difficult but I was fortunate to source one from Bikesoup in February 2012, after searching the web and posting wanted ads on many bike forums with no success.
My first ride on the Marvel was to be a 420 mile charity event in aid of FABLE (For A Better Life with Epilepsy) organised by my local cycling club, Stocksbridge CC.¬†15 riders from the club started the event in Newcastle on the 21st May¬†and finished in London 4 days later on the 25th, calling at the offices of event sponsors Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham before completing the longest stage into the capital where we were greeted by FABLE patron Barbara Winsor MBE.
The aim of the ride was to raise vital funds and awareness for the Sheffield based charity.¬†The Marvel was wonderful over some very tough terrain in the Pennies and the Peak District and delievered me in one price at the finish line. Over that kind of mileage you certainly find out if a bike is right for you, when aches and pains are common place from hours in the saddle. The Marvel was true to its name and I returned home eager to plan my next challenge.
You can find more about the great work done by FABLE at www.fable.org.uk