Continued from part 1
I’ve been riding off road since 88, which is a long time to be doing anything and out with collecting records, there is nothing else that has been such a constant part of my life. Over this time I have been through some bikes and enjoyed the various phases of the sport, recently though I have become somewhat disillusioned with it. I remember when I could barely control myself waiting for the next issue of Bike magazine, now I flick through the pages in WH Smiths and more often than not it gets put back on the shelf. No magazine is ever going to fill me with the thrill I have just had rolling on some super sweet singletrack high above Keswick.
And with these thoughts I started to think about my bike, I have one mountain bike, my Curtis, it’s not particularly pretty, it certainly isn’t light but I’ve built up a good relationship with this bike and in all honesty I don’t envisage having another bike unless something catastrophic happens. Sure it would be nice if it was a pound lighter but you know what, it won’t make that big a difference to the way I use it. The bike reminds me of my Roberts White Spider I had in 1990 and in many ways the whole build of this bike has more in common with that bike than anything I have owned. The Roberts was undoubtedly the prettiest bike I have owned, though after the third time I bent it, I gave up on custom builders. At that time there wasn’t the same amount of componentry available and it was built up with a Campagnolo Record headset and threaded Chorus hubs with a Sachs (or was it Regina?) freewheel, Dia Compe brakes, really beautiful stuff, threaded freewheels were on the way out even then but at that time the eclectic mix of part used very much reflected the individual. Then things changed, before long, it was XT and XTR on everything, that was it, the bikes became less about freedom of expression and more about performance, weight and availability. There is little doubt that everything worked better but for me it was the start of the rot. Racing had became everything, I stopped riding off road as such and focussed on racing which to be fair at that point was still fairly interesting but then that changed (that’s another story)
So there I was standing at the bridge over the Glenderaterra Beck about to haul myself up to the singletrack, looking at my bike and it clicked why I love this bike, aside from it’s stable handling, I have unintentionally (or unconsciously) built this in a similar style as I built that White Spider all those years ago, I love this bike, from the square taper cranks to the Salsa flat bars.
No doubt I will be labelled as some sort of retro-grouch, cantankerous old bugger, curmudgeon or duffer, you know what? I don’t care.