When describing the bike in less than 50 words, Robert Penn, in his book, It’s all about the bike notes the following “ a steer-able machine comprising two wheels with pneumatic tyres, mounted in-line on a frame with rotating front forks, propelled by the rider’s feet turning pedals attached by cranks to a chain wheel, and by a loop of chain to sprockets on the rear wheel. It’s very simple”. Really? He does of course then go on to describe each key component as part of his quest to build the perfect bike.
Some people just don’t get why you need multiple wheels…yet I have different bikes for mountain biking (light, smaller wheels), touring (steel frame, bigger wheels), taking on trains (folding, really small wheels) and taking for a shared picnic (two sets of handlebars). Further, given these specialisms I also then have an inexpensive hybrid for locking up round town. Most people would think I’d have it covered. In deed, I had always presumed the real gap in my collection was the absence of a racer.
However, when considering the bike required for this trip I realised I just didn’t have what was needed. The tourer could carry the gear but would not get me through Africa as comfortably as something with suspension. The mountain bike has suspension but could not carry my gear. It was time to look at what was needed. With 20,00km to go I was not doing the ride on a bike with the wrong set up. I will be on this baby for a few hours a day for almost a year.
There are increasingly more touring bikes being made to take road and off-road adventures into account and I started to look at what was available. With adventure cycling going through what seems to a surge in interest more specialist bikes are now available for these types of trips. Given I was based in Edinburgh however means that talking through requirements for this custom build ruled out frame builders based on London. I just didn’t want to do this over the phone.
I have opted then for a Koga Signature. I am able to chat through what I need and make adjustments with a supplier in Edinburgh and despite the usual maintenance and bang it was the bike Beaumont used to break a world record on. I’m still working on my exact requirements. Having just received my first spec layout there are still changes I wish to make – let’s just hope it’s all possible so I can place my order next week. Update to follow……