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ON YER BIKE: The collector in me is ready to gear up for a new project
I have just come back to freezing Oxford after a lovely holiday mountain biking in the Black Forest region of Germany. As I write, with fingers of ice and not one but three jumpers on, I look back on the delightful days we spent meandering around forests and mountains, the times we stopped for a beer in the sun and the delightful dumplings we devoured for lunch.
You wouldn’t have guessed it was March. The sun was so warm it was like a summer holiday.
I had with me my new full-suspension bike, the lovely Orange ST4 women specific, and this was its maiden voyage.
It did what it said on the tin; it took me up rocky inclines and down muddy descents and generally did everything I asked of it.
This I had hoped, as I built it to my specification, choosing forks, hubs and rims to match my ride, disregarding price and buying solely on quality and then hiding the credit card receipts from my partner Kevin afterwards.
It’s light, good looking and rolls along like it’s in a hurry to get somewhere. Really, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Bizarrely though, its completeness has left me rather depressed and I am thinking about the next bike already.
I have decided I need a 29er after hearing all the success stories of friends and colleagues who own one.
For those of you that haven’t heard of the 29er phenomenon, I will tell all.
Basically they are a mountain bike with large wheels, the diameter is 622mm, just like road bikes, add the tyres and you get 740mm, approximately 29.15in, ergo “the 29er”.
They are not as new as they seem however and have been growing in popularity for 10 years or more in the States.
Yet another welcome invasion from good old US. But why a larger wheel?
Well firstly, they have a lower approach angle, making obstacles seem smaller, secondly, they have more contact with the ground, giving more traction, very important for mountain biking and finally, they have a lower centre of gravity, thanks to the bottom bracket sitting lower than hub centres.
People are calling them a revolution and this is one bandwagon I am happy to jump on.
But really this is madness, just as one project gets completed another starts brewing in my head, because do I really need another bike?
Will that then make the collection complete? What of the garage space?
I know one guy who has so many bikes he can’t count them in his head. In fact, if he gains a new one he has a strict policy now of one in one out, otherwise he will have nowhere to store it.
Perhaps this is the answer?
A number policy and a good culling system. Either way, my 29er is going to be brought into existence, but will it mean I will ride the ST4 less?
I suppose so, but it will still have a place in my heart. Perhaps it’s just being back in Blighty that is arousing this need.
Who knows – it’s a good excuse for another biking holiday though.
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