Have you ever considered whittling your collection down to a single bike? Of course you have – we all have. For the better part of a decade I’ve owned more bikes than there are days in the week, with spare parts for all of them. Getting rid of all but one? Unthinkable. Which one of a carefully curated fleet, each with its own merits and reasons for being, would make the best all-rounder? Which would be your “one bike”?
This idea of downsizing and simplifying has been a theme for me this year. In July, after months of preparation, my girlfriend and I packed our lives and our dog into our two cars and moved to a 227 square foot cabin deep in the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia. Like many, we’d been dreaming of living in the wilderness, but this was it. Living the dream, right?
Moving here from Vancouver has been a huge change. Gone are the conveniences of the city, since replaced with stillness. We have electricity, cold water, and a wood stove. A two-burner propane camp stove and an electric frying pan. A tiny fridge. A bed with a view of the lake, which doubles as our couch. A passable wifi connection from my aunt’s house up the hill. And, fortunately, a dry 64 square foot outbuilding to store our gear in.
Obviously my “one bike” was influenced by my new location. Abandoned rail grades and endless gravel roads lead to some amazing places around here, and I wasn’t about to give up trail shredability nor suspension just yet. I chose my Chromag Rootdown 29er – a steel hardtail with a SRAM 11-speed and a Pike – and rehomed the rest of my collection with friends.
In the summer we swam in the lake every day, negating the need for showers. We consciously lazed on the beach when we could have been getting after it in the hills. As fall took over our urge to get out on bikes became more hurried, more determined. Any ride on dirt might be the last until spring. And, as expected, winter’s icy cold grasp arrived – as I type this it’s been snowing for three days straight with a storm coming through tonight.
More recently, our focus has shifted to practical, survival-based measures. Temperatures below freezing are the norm and the mountain bike trails are under snow. We chop wood – a lot of it. Keep jugs of water on hand in case the lines freeze. Plan ahead because the grocery store closes at 6 and the one restaurant in town isn’t worth leaving our own little building for. People in town offer their condolences for our living situation, which seems weird; we’re quite happy with the quaintness of it.
I’ve been connected with John since the blogspot days, when 28c was a big tire and fixie freestyle wasn’t yet an industry. Our conversations over the past year have really solidified a common vision – the positive vibes approach is huge for me. Over a few days in Moab together in March, he told me about the Radavist launch, and while we didn’t discuss it at the time I’m sure we both knew it meant we’d be working together soon enough.
My bike collection is already growing. I salvaged an old steel road bike from the dump and couldn’t say no to a ’91 Haro Extreme which will eventually grace these pages. NRG Enterprises, the Canadian Surly distributor, set me up with an Ice Cream Truck for the winter and SRAM hooked up the Bluto. I poached a few key parts off my Chromag and the fatty has become my “one bike” for the past few months.