Enlightened. Still stupid

Riding in the endlessly splendid Andalucian region of southern Spain, my life was full of appropriateness. Firstly the fully suspended, modern angled and expensively adorned 160mm travel mountain bike fitted perfectly into the folds of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Secondly dusty ridingsegued seamlessly into hot tapas and cold beer. Thirdly every photo contained the holy trinity of blue sky, dry rock and stunning views.

God I loved it. Came back last Thursday and not seen the sun since. Hidden by horizon clamping cloud and sideways rain. Half of the North is underwater while the rest of us are grudgingly grateful to be merely sliding about in tyre deep mud.

So when the going gets tough, the not very tough get silly. My good friend Matt is not what corporate bullshitters would call a ‘completer-finisher‘. So it was no surprise to see the stupidbike(tm) proxying the same version I’d abandoned in his garage, before buggering off to sunnier climbs.

This is no problem at all though. I have many other bikes to ride most of which Matt fixes with no complaints and technical explanations I pretend to understand.

However, with everyone needing a laugh, a frenzy of activity saw many cheap and heavy components replaced by nearly new items from my bottomless spares drawer* Don't need these bits anymore

Off went the brakes that didn’t work, the transmission that did but at a cost to weight rationot really captured in my Venn diagram of light/blingy/arguably pointless. Having no suspension other than the undamped rebound offered by a brace of tractor tyres, I felt a dropper seatpost represented nothing less than a safety accessory.

Talking of tyres, the supplied ones really aren’t bad. In the dry. In any other conditions their chief attribute appears to be some kind of alchemic reaction transformingmud into a frictionless surface offering all sorts of exciting diversions. Steering not being one of them.

After some dithering, I ‘stuck the knobbly one in the back’. Writing that down has made me both laugh and wonder whether ‘I’ve gone at this from the wrong end‘. At best I’ve created a paddle steamer shifting huge volumes of mud to arse crack. At worse I’ve prioritised traction over steering.

Assuming the lashed together bastard love child of John-Deere and a rubber fetisher makes it to the first downhill. I have only one spare tube apparently fashioned from an elephants condom. If the weather turns for the worse, it offers sufficient flotation properties to rescue me and quite a few friends. When it finally snows, I’m fucking this bike thing off and just taking the tube sledging.

The new tyre really didn’t embrace the tubeless experience at all. Even with Matt’s compressor bullying air into the vast orifice at a 100PSI. It was flappier than – no really not even I can go there** – er a very flappy thing. I had a quick delve into the bearded world of the Fat Tyre Forums and apparently there’s much to prepare involving badgers, illegal substances and a level of stickiness which suggests any such activity should be carried out in a darkened shed well away from the children.

So tomorrow night I intend to be entirely inappropriate. The stupidbike is prepared for its first night mission. In conditions best thought of as ‘Herefordshire’s Famous Flanders Flashback’, I fully expect it to be rubbisheverywhere.There’s that and the joy of beingabandoned far behind the back of the group. I shall navigate by their belly laughs and amusing retorts on the pointlessness of one mans endeavour to testthe maximum amount of foolishness a stupid bicycle can offer.

At least it will now stop. And go without the sound of chainrings being tortured by shifters assembled by the lowest cost bidder. I expect the traction to be outstanding, front end grip less so, but trees are always just that bit softer in winter.

Assuming some kind of survival/not checking in at a mental trauma clinic, the following night whatever remains of me and the stupidbike shallattempt to summit the mighty peaks of the Malvern hills.

At the end of which, this experiment shall be declared a wonderful success and it’s just the other 99.9{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of the population who don’t get it. Or there will be a suspicious fire in the shedofdreams.

No point dying wondering eh?

*mostly. Some additional expenditure may have been required. I like to think of this an investment is ‘future and most necessary spares currently stored on another bicycle

**some metaphors are best left unwritten. But for full transparency, I’m smirking like a teenager on his first encounter with hedge grumble here.

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