Dolans are known for being tough and reliable, like a Le Creuset casserole dish
The snow surprised us when we woke up in the hills above Ullswater. We weren’t very well prepared. With waterproof booties back in Manchester, bread bags had to double as shoeliners, one of us was missing a winter glove and only I had the slightly creepy luxury of a balaclava under my helmet.
At least I had the right bike. Though it’s set up for off-road cyclocross racing – the flattened top tube makes the carbon frame easier to lug over obstacles – the Dolan CDX lends itself to winter adventuring. Designed in Ormskirk by ex-pro Terry Dolan, who once made bikes for Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, Dolans are known for being tough and reliable, like a Le Creuset casserole dish. The CDX isn’t afraid of a snowstorm, nor the sleet and sunshine that followed us as we rounded the rainbow-framed lake to buy beer and milk at Pooley Bridge. I was glad of the knobbly Continental tyres when we made our way gingerly down the hill from our holiday cottage. There was all sorts of debris in the road and if I’d been on my usual slicks I’d have ended up in the hawthorn waking up hibernating hedgehogs. The older I get, the more I prefer climbing to descending. I’m rarely more scared than when rattling downhill in midwinter, when most of the snow has turned to grubby mush but you can’t rule out black ice. I’m not sure I’d have dared if the CDX didn’t have disc brakes. Rim brakes are about as practical in the wet as suede boots in a Mancunian winter (autumn, spring, summer).