Handemade Steel Mountain Bikes

February 2013

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I like to think of myself as a “run what you brung” kind of guy.  When visiting friends, I’ll ride just about anything if it means I can ride some trails.  I once had a rear hydraulic cable on a buddy’s bike fail halfway down Hazard County in Moab, leaving me with only a front brake for the rest of the ride.  Made things interesting for sure but turned out all right.

the beast

However – Adhering to this philosophy at home, unfortunately for my local ride friends, simply means – showing up late with bikes in various stages of assembly or disassembly.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, but has led to a couple funny circumstances, like showing up with one road and one mtb shoe (had a great ride!).

So about 2 months ago, I was in the UK visiting family for xmas.  I had always wanted to go ride the Forest of Dean, so drove out to the border of Wales in pouring rain, getting to the parking lot around 2pm.  It was probably the muddiest ride I’ve ever done, and as it was getting late and dark, I threw the unwashed bike in the car where it remained until I got home and threw it in the garage.  Where it remained until Mike asked me if I wanted to go mountain biking in the snow today.  Where was my mountain bike?  I had to give it some thought.

Ok, I said, no problem.  Clipping in in about 20 minutes.  Geared up, went down to the garage, now…where was my bike…  In the corner of the garage was a brown pile of steel tubes, covered in a thick layer of caked-on mud.  Which had by now taken the form of concrete, attached like one giant brown barnacle to my frame.  BB was seized, tires flat.

Long story short – I made it out of there.  Bike broke in ok.  And within a few pedal strokes it was back to its old self, happy to be riding again, same as me.  There was a fresh snow on the ground and we were off to get some of that glorous fresh powder traction (fat bikes be damned!).  Two hours and several beers better evening was approaching and it had been a great ride, in what would have otherwise been a day trapped indoors.  Such is the beauty of the mountain bike.