N+1=4, just in time for Newfoundland


We’ve written a lot on this blog about the Rules for people who ride bikes about the “right” number of bikes being “n+1 where n is the number of bikes you currently have.”

This little sweetie makes my current n 4.  It’s been 4 before, but I don’t think it’s ever been more than 4, except for when I also had a refurbed spinning bike.  The other three are my glorious, beloved road bike, an extremely sturdy city bike, and a vintage 1970s sky-blue single speed sweetie with a basket and a pretty bell and coaster brakes.

(It’s hard to take a selfie that also shows your bike, by the way. How does one do a bikie?)

She’s a Bombtrack Beyond, a steelframed all road lighter weight touring bike.  Over the past several years, I’ve done multi-day trips in Australia, Germany, Laos, Vietnam, Latvia, Estonia, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, and I’ve always rented bikes.  It’s convenient to step off a bike at the end of a trip and not have to think about it — but they never fit (I’m super short), they’re always heavy, and they’re usually too-bouncy mountain bikes.

I’ve been thinking about it since my trip in Australia in December, where I really didn’t like the bike I’d rented.  But the idea took root when I went out on my road bike for the first (and only)) time about three weeks ago and encountered massively broken post-winter roads.  It’s been a nasty, brutish spring with only a few warm, sunny days.   (Note I’m wearing a jacket on May 29).

I’m going on an 8 day trip in Newfoundland in a month with Sam and Susan (and David and Sarah, who don’t blog here, but who make cameos), and Newfoundland weather is notoriously unforgiving. I have a vision of broken, gravelly, wet roads and General Unpleasantness.  After deking around potholes with a lot of anxiety on my road bike, I realized it’s time for German engineering.

Yesterday I took it out for its first real ride, on the 30km (total) out and back from my house that includes the 2 km Brimley hill at the Scarborough bluffs.

It’s beautiful.  I’m getting used to the gears (same shifters for up and down, with different clicks), and the handlebar height isn’t right yet. I sailed down the completely pitted, pot-holed, cracked Brimley road with impunity, almost cackling out loud at the way that the fat tires just absorbed the road.

In moments, I was 7 again, learning to ride a bike by being released over and over down a gravelly, hilly road in a German campground by my dad, no doubt holding a Rothman’s and a beer.  By the end of that weekend, gravel in my knees, I’d learned how to ride, and my little blue german folding bike let 7 and 8 year old me sail away to free-range independence, disappearing down little roads in a country where I didn’t speak the language for hours at a time.

Bikes still do that for me, transform me into an explorer, navigating countries where I don’t speak the language with confidence.

This German bike isn’t blue — there were only two X-S in all of Canada, one blue and one green, and the blue one came in damaged.  This one is a lovely forest green.  And after only one 30km ride, she feels like a part of me.

Now if only I could get a leeetle more riding in so that first 90 km day in Gros Mourne doesn’t kill me.

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who lives and rides in Toronto and blogs here twice a month.







6 thoughts on “N+1=4, just in time for Newfoundland

  1. Hoooey! What a sweet new ride! I looked at the specs, and it looks perfect. One interesting fact I saw: it has 27.5 inch wheels. You’ll have to report on how those feel– I bet that helps explain the smoother ride over broken surfaces. Cool! Enjoy…

  2. I am just curious as to how you transport your bike, assuming by plane? We (my husband and I) love riding but have never found an easy, safe way to transport our own bicycles.

    1. I’ve been taking my bike with me on planes for years. Think I will blog about it! Not always cheap but easy and safe.

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