I have many things to say about this bike. Most of them aren’t build details or first impressions. Instead they are deeply personal, and primarily relate to a “vision” of the perfect bicycle I had back in the early 1970s. The vision was most clear in my mind as I was traveling to Big Bend National Park with my parents. I might post more about that here, or perhaps to certain individuals, in a face-to-face setting, who specifically ask to hear the story.
In a brisk late winter morning, I found a lakeside picnic table surrounded by wind-blocking vegetation and bathed in sunshine. Coffee was brewed. An experiment with the (new-to-me) GoPro camera resulted in a time lapse video of the brew-up. A little boring for a variety of reasons, but a genuine learning experience.
Even though what I do routinely on Saturday mornings seems quite normal to me, I am occasionally reminded that I am a fringe cyclist. For example, during a ride on the recent Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, someone came up and asked me sincerely if I am homeless. Even though I’ve had a similar experience before, that caught me by surprise.
What I do with a bicycle must be way off on the edge of the bicycle use bell-curve. I had a different kind of reminder today during an outing to seek and watch racers of the Texas Chainring Massacre (TCM) gravel race near my home. It was a reminder delivered to me by “fellow” cyclists.
Many of my bicycle outings include a stop for a coffee brew-up. I thought it would be great to try and find the race course for the TCM, select a good roadside viewing spot, brew some coffee, and watch the parade of gravel grinders go by. To me, the combination of being outside with a bicycle and fresh coffee is about as good as it gets. But it must not be so for most bicycle enthusiasts.
Two interesting things happened as the racers sped by. One of those things was the classic double-take when they glanced over…and then again…when they realized I was really sitting behind a kettle on a stove. The other interesting thing goes to the very heart of the culture of group rides.
As the racers approached, the first thing they noticed was a cyclist on the side of the road. Their immediate instinct was to stop pedaling, lean over, and ask if I had everything I need. It is common practice to help a fellow cyclist avoid being stranded on the side of the road, if one can. I don’t think they imagined that someone would be there on purpose. But I had an answer for them.
Why, yes…I certainly do!
As hoped, I was fortunate enough to spend more time on bicycle outings than last year. When I spend more time on the bike, I feel better and annoy others less.
End of analysis.
Even under cloudy skies, the brown colors of the refreshing north Texas winter landscape doesn’t seem dreary or gloomy to me. If you look carefully, amazing variability can be observed. When the sun returns, it is even better.
Link to a slide show of my finale overnighter of the year.
Of the many things to admire about the Trangia stove, I have a clear favorite. The stove is a reliable soldier, and it’s admirable qualities are perfectly harmonious with trips afield. It is durable, simply made, simple to operate, relatively light, uses easily obtained fuel, and is silent in use. There is, however, a slight whisper of a sound when it is ignited. It is a sound that might be missed in urban settings. But in the kind of quiet places that outdoor enthusiasts seek, the gentle kiss of flame with fuel vapor makes a “wumpht” that sounds happy and eager for the work ahead. It delights me without fail.