Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cycling in my blood???

At my great Uncle Reg's 90th birthday recently we were discussing riding. Reg remembered that my great grandfather Allen Valentine Worthington used to race bikes, and also did quite well in his era. We've just managed to dig out this old photo. I know Allen was born in 1882 and we believe this photo was taken around 1900. Looks like a single-speed fixie. I'd love to know what bike this is. Anyone else know? If I can dig out any more detail on where or what he raced etc I'll update this post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fatties Rock

I have been looking at getting a Surly Pugsley. Pugsley’s are the original 4” fatty. They look like a MTB on steroids given their oversize tyres. They’re built to go places traditional mountain bikes can’t; places I’d like to go!

I’ve always got another adventure on the cards, so a Pugsley was high on my list of priorities. I’ve gotta say whilst I’ve always been a big fan of the Pug and the far-out places it could take me, my bone of contention has always been its weight. You see, I like adventure but I also like speed. At 2.57kg for an 18” frame alone, the Pug is no light-weight, even if a lot of this weight is quite justifiable when you consider the enormous loads these bikes are designed to carry for BIG adventures in crazy-arse terrain. I've been on the look-out for a light-weight adventure MTB, but without sacrifice to strength.

Enter the Fatback ...

This is not a bike we have heard much about here in Australia. Much of its use to date has been in the snow in Alaska and North America. Greg Matyas and Pete Basinger from Speedway cycles conceived this bike from years of Alaskan back-country experience.

Check-out their website here: http://speedwaycyclesak.com/pages/fatback.html

And below, Greg showing off one in the "flesh".

These bikes can do everything a Pug can do, and more.

Other than its light weight (full build possible at 23lbs), the obvious advantage of the Ti frame is its rust resistance. There’s not much point having a bike built for real adventure if it’s restricted on where it can go because of fear of corrosion on beaches etc. This is a real problem in Alaska because most roads are heavily salted to minimise ice formation. Fortunately Speedway Cycles can also accessorise with Ti options for a fully nuke-proof bike that’ll last longer in the back-country than I ever will.

Ti is also more compliant than CrMo steel, so the ride is not as jarring given these oversize beasts normally use their baggy tyres as suspension rather than suspended forks. The result is that weird and wonderful adventure can still be LIGHT & FAST. The 4” tyres also have plenty of clearance. The rear drop-outs come with 165mm spacing, so this bike is designed for the future with even bigger wheels in mind for harsher terrain. The drive-train is conventional, rather than off-set or “dished” like the Pug. Like the Pug, the Fatback also uses a 100mm bottom bracket.

They look schweeeeet, they look fast, and I can’t wait to get one. I know it will take me well off the beaten track. What are other people’s thoughts?

Oh, check out this link if you don’t already know what the Iditarod Trail Invitational is about. This should whet your adventure appetite:


Don’t our solo 24hr MTB & XPD adventure races feel kinda like junior girl-scout outings by comparison???

Seeya out on the trails, or “off the beaten trails” soon.