As I mentioned here a few times of late, despite my reservations and having fired myself last fall, I have returned to the shop to help out a couple days a week.
The hours are short and at my discretion, and I thankfully I have few customers to deal with thanks to the shop’s COVID guidelines.
I spend most of my time answering the phone 1, logging in accessories (seemingly the only thing we can get in stock), and fixing flats. In other words, gimp work. And I’m OK with that.
My return to the shop has allowed me to help out and interact with friends after weeks of being Not Really Quarantined. And exposure to the bikes started to suggestively rub my nether regions and made me want to return to riding dirt. But there was a problem; I no longer owned a mountain bike.
The Procaliber I picked up in the fall of 2015 was to be a tool to help me return to XC racing/riding. But then a perfect storm of physical and mental health issues followed by a raging case of “FUCK IT!” and continued weight gain left me resenting the very sight of the bike. I sold it last November without one ounce of remorse. Now it felt like time to move on and start to do some bike shopping.
At first, I thought about the X-Caliber 29er, but it has a horrible Team Astana color scheme that my creative mind just couldn’t begin to embrace. Then I looked at a Stache. I like the idea of plus-sized wheels, a plus-sized me with a need for stability and traction to avoid crashes (those pesky blood thinners again), but the Stache’s 29+ wheels size seemed a bit too much for my liking. Then came the Roscoe 8. Could the combination of 3″ wide and 27.5 be the ticket? I have no idea, but I ordered one anyway. I felt more comfortable with my decision after some conversations and research lead me to discover that the X-Cal and the Roscoe 8 share the same exact frame. So, if I decide that plump 27.5 isn’t for me, a new set of wheels later, I can be riding a 29er again. That revelation, combined with my shop gimp discount, sold me.
But first some mods.
The Roscoe is a “trail” bike, and I’m OK with that, but its “trail bike” components aren’t particularly suited for my trail bike needs. So, I made a few alterations:
The tires: The Maxxis Rekon’s had to go. WAAYYY too much rubber for my needs. They were replaced with the faster rolling Bontrager XR3 2.8s set up tubeless.
The dropper post: Outside of riding in Copper Harbor, I have NO need for a dropper post in Michigan. That was replaced with an alloy post from Whisky Parts Co.
The stem: The 60mm (60mm???) needed to go. It was WAY too short for me. That was replaced with a 110mm stem.
The bar: Sweet Jeebus! I think the bar was 4 feet wide. Had to cut that bad boy down. That might be OK for riding in Moab, but singletrack through the trees requires a narrower bar.
The grips: This is just personal preference, but the Bontrager grips were replaced with Ergon GS2s.
Other than adding my own XT SPD pedals, and my Outer Shell bar bag for my little camera that is all the mods for now. I may swap saddles, but again, that is just a personal preference for the comfort of my aging, flaccid ass cheeks.
In the end, I pretty much have an XC-like bike with 27.5 x 2.8 tires. It’s by NO means a race bike, nor do I think it would make an ideal bike for gravel riding, but it should be a perfect bike for a fat man putzing around the woods.
With the bike finally built-up and home, I headed up to the trails at MMCC on Friday for my first mountain bike ride since October of 2018. It had been so long since I was there, there were entire buildings gone and new ones built!
The ride was to see if I remembered how to ride on trails (I did) and make whatever adjustments might be needed (lower the PSI in the tires and raise the saddle was it).
As great as it felt to be back in the wood on my bike after 20 months, riding singletrack after two days of heavy thunderstorms was not a great idea. The trails themselves were in great shape, but there were a ton of large trees down and so much windfall that I consider myself lucky to have completed the ride with my rear derailleur and all my spokes intact.
Ten miles of start/stop riding is not ideal for judging a bike, but I can say that I was stoked with how the bike felt under me and even more stoked to be back on dirt. I found it way more comfortable than my old PrOcal and super stable. The extra width not only helped with my lackluster bike handling, it also added a bit more comfort.
My time away from riding trails, combined with all the woodsy hikes with my camera I’ve been doing over the past few years, has had me missing riding trails. I have no intention of ever racing my bike again, and I have no desire to go fast, but the Roscoe should allow me to comfortably ride my bike in the woods without contempt for my bike, or myself. OK, for my bike.
I’m hoping that this can start a new chapter in my outdoor life, and my almost 30-years of being a
cyclist guy that rides bikes.