I remember when 29ers became mainstream and a debate raged on whether 29 inches was just too much. There were plenty of people arguing that the 29er was only suitable for taller riders (six-foot plus) and the inertia caused by those big hoops meant these lanky steeds would only ever be suitable for cross-country. Fast forward a decade and we’ve got 29ers for five-foot riders and big wheeled downhill monsters shredding descents. Oh, how attitudes change.
Airport parking, check-in, security, over-priced drinks, and your off – a sunny cycling destination is just around the corner. Fight to get off the plane, rush for passport control, wait for an age for your bike box to appear, queue forever to get a hire car then explain why you don’t need additional insurance for extra-terrestrial activity, and finally, you’re on your way. There’s only one job left – build your bike. Unfortunately, your bike’s headset decides not to play ball, and you end up with something like…
When I was in my twenties, I was a self-confessed rock hugger. Every morning and every evening, I’d head to the local crags and pass hour after hour lost in the mental and physical challenges of bouldering. Work was chosen on proximity to climbing locations, girlfriends on their ability to spot and dyno, and holidays meant sleeping in caves and forests to make the most of Stanage Edge or Fontainebleau. Then one day, I stopped hugging rocks. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t know how; it just happened.
The other day I was out on a ‘social’ ride with some class riders, to say the least. Whilst trying to hold the wheel in a crosswind (tornado, if it adds to the drama), I got to thinking that maybe it was my bike and not me that was making it such a slog – I’m sure you know the feeling. Fortunately, the gods were kind, we soon made a sharp turn, and were swept up by a delicious tailwind.