Life is complicated. Simply put. I don’t yearn for the days of a simple lifestyle as I get older because I like the rewards of having an complicated lifestyle… Its hard to put that into words, but for some things I do wish for less complicated things to keep me happy. Take cycling for example; I ride both road and mountain bikes – I like riding on the road, its simple, my mind can drift off and I can enjoy the view (when not on a busy road). I like when its done, it’s clean, clothes aren’t muddy and bike is put away dry and as new as the day I got it. But riding on the road is boring, and if I didn’t have music, I would be falling asleep at 50 km into the ride.
I also like mountain biking, the trails keeps me concentrated on my balance, my skills and on the flow. But my mind can’t drift and to be set into auto pilot to solve work or life problems. 50km into a mountain bike ride, I AM EXHAUSTED.
My bikes are complicated – Double tap, carbon frame, hydro formed aluminium, booster valving, dropper posts, high volume tires, tubular tires – 20 years of fiddling with bikes doesn’t make me any more comfortable breaking these parts open for routine maintenance.
So what’s it going to take to push me into enjoying the simple things? I think that I may have the answer – 29er hardtail. It’ll be a custom made fillet brazed bike. The bike will be simple and I designed the bike to be simple. The oxymoron was that my journey of designing the bike was very complicated when trying to understand what are the best bike qualities I like the best. Head angles, chain stay length, reach, stack, stem length, bottom bracket drop all play a role in building a bike. Not having an appreciation of their effect on bike could mean that the bike could suck in one regard but be stellar in another. I just wanted that goldilocks of bikes to be justttt rightttt! I discovered that riding a bike is based on set of compromises and one bike CANNOT be the only one in the quiver. I thought so with my TCR road bike – it was fast and light, but 5 hours on it has your back screaming ‘uncle!’ I thought that my Cove was an one bike slayer but its too heavy for climbing hills fast or it’s not a Whistler Bike Park DH sled. So I think its about having a bike to suit the majority of your everyday trails and not heavily investing into other bikes that may or may not use 6-10 times/year. Oh you should still have those bikes on hand just in case you want to ride outside your everyday riding comfort zone. Gosh I’m complicated!
|Long-travel Hardtail 29er|
My solution is a bike that I can take on an adventure ride or short XC ride on the Sunshine Coast. Single chain ring up front (no derailleur). Short chain stays to be fun in tight twisty trails, but can be lengthen to provide that 29er straight line stability when carrying a load (Chilcotin). Dropper post? Are you kidding? I said simple, not to go back to the stone age. Will this be the bike to help me on my mid-life dream of simple life? Maybe – I do know that it will definitely be a ride that is simple to ride and that’s a step in the right direction.