<=== The Call of the Road Less Traveled....
I have a belief that there is a growing interest in something I am calling "Adventuring" in regards to cycling. Actually, when you think about it, elements of Adventuring have been with us for quite awhile now. I just think that these elements are being drawn out and that the focus on a certain category of bikes is going to make it a full fledged "trend", if you will. Let me explain......
There was a big move away from XC mountain bike racing back in the 90's and it could be argued that it is still happening today. The experience was too short, the costs too high, and the attitude that pervaded the scene was, well.......less than fun in many cases.
Then the long distance, 24 hour type stuff came about which for a lot of folks put "Fun" back into mountain biking in a big way. Maybe too much fun, maybe too high an entry fee, maybe too many people. The reasons vary, but there was something missing, even though this was a step in the right direction, and for a lot of us, still a good thing. However; there are a few of us that wanted more. A lot more.
This is where things like the Great Divide Race captured peoples imaginations. Some of us got to "thinkering" about how we could experience something like that, and lots of events and rides have been spawned off of that. Now it seems that even the competitive part of riding is being left by the wayside for more of the "adventure" side. The part that seems to have a grip and call on a lot of our hearts and souls.
I know this may be a bit simplistic, so please bear with me. This is a blog for crying out loud, not a novel! That said, I believe that throughout this progression there has been an effort made to distill the bicycle into a tool more effective for "adventuring" than the common XC inspired hard tail. In many ways, it has come full circle.
Just think back to the early 80's. Mountain biking was populated by lots of folks that were "adventuring" on two wheels. Call it off road touring, klunking, plunking, or whatever, it seems that we are coming back to a sensibility, (at least in many areas) that is leading us back to using bikes designed for such purposes. Bikes that in many ways have their roots in mountain bike designs of the early 80's mixed with modern updates.
My belief is that the monstercross/adventure/touring/29"er elements are all coming together in certain designs that are about to be unleashed on the market soon. The bikes that will ignite ideas in many of us, inspire many of us, and start a new "trend".
A trend that has been going on quietly all along, really. I'm excited to be a small part of it.