Adventure Road Bikes are still not a satisfactorily scratched itch. So, I got one. If it looks suspiciously like my old steel commuter with 32c size tyres and thick handlebar tape. It’s because it is.
This itch has got worse, more irritating, more urgent as I’ve stumbled upon an adventure for an adventure road bike: Riding the Grand Union Canal north from Brentford (London) as far as we can get in 6 hours (which might only be Milton Keynes).
Why’s the itch so bad?
Because I don’t have an adventure road bike. I’ve got an old steel commuter with too-big tyres and zero clearance. Or more accurately only 2mm clearance between the rear tyre and the front derailleur braze on the downtube. Or even more accurately: a perfect mud/dirt/leaf/stone-catching bike clogger.
The guys I’m riding with are armed with bona-fide Adventure Road bikes. They’re early adopters and evangelical with regards adventure road bikes. I’m worried that having roped them into the Grand Union Adventure I’m going to ruin it by grinding to a slow, painful clogged up stop. Probably in the outskirts of Brentford.
The itch got so bad. In this afternoon’s driving rain, I went for a test ride on the Tamsin Trail around Richmond Park to ease my fears or at least realise them early. The Tamsin trail is for runners and leisurely cyclists – not somewhere the serious cyclist would venture.
Except that in the rain the 7-mile perimeter trail is suitably gravelly-muddy and littered with sodden, slippery leaves, an appealing blazing carpet of red, oranges and golds that distracts from their treacherous slipperiness. A nightmare for a road bike. Perfect for an adventure road bike.
Conclusion A) My old steel commuter even with big tyres is not an adventure road bike and 6 hours on the Grand Union Canal starting at 6am this Sunday morning is going to be an adventure (of sorts…)
Conclusion B) You don’t have to go far or spend big to enjoy yourself in a whole new way. Try some big tyres and thick handlebar tape on an unloved old bike and make something unexpected out of nothing, turn routine on its head and see what you take for granted a little differently.