2016 was a year of many salient points. The apparent tragedy of many celebrities dying, mostly of natural or self-induced causes. The older half of the British population systematically screwing the younger half. More Americans not bothering to vote than voting for either candidate, with a slightly spectacular outcome. The transcendent ascension of alternative facts (the world is actually flat – you read it here first). The ultimate victory of Fear and Loathing.
For me, honestly, it was a rubbish year on the bike with one spectacularly good ride. But it was also a fun year. A year highlighted by ditching Strava – which was more a reflection on me than the app – of heaping scorn on my road bike, and of finding again a bit of singlespeed loving.
If there was one thing I’d attribute a good ride at the Scott 24h too, it was having fun on a singlespeed. So I’ll call it – it was the year of the Singlespeed.
With limited weekends left in the country, I decided it was time to do one of my favourite rides – the long esteemed Canberra to the Coast.
And, following on from the Year of the Singlespeed, the wisest thing was to do it singlespeeding.
Spinning out into the odd warmth of a pre-dawn summer morning, I’d chugged through good kms before the sun came up, and was rewarded for the early start with a splendid sunrise.
By the 100km mark, I’d crested most of the major climbing and was ready to plunge into the fun part of the ride. Unfortunately, I’d roasted my legs into something resembling an oblivion on the first 100km in the heat.
What followed was not pretty, and a good reminder that, while singlespeeds are great for blasting around singletrack, they make particularly sub-optimal touring bikes when your legs are imploding and you can’t spin.
However, the promise of a full afternoon in the surf was adequate motivation to keep chugging on, and I was soon safely wrapped up in the ocean.
It was good to sign off with one of my favourite rides. I’m looking forward to some more riding on some of the most beautiful trails in the world, and exploring a volcanic crater rim as my new backyard.
If there is one mantra from 2016, it’d be this: mountain bikes are fun! 🙂