Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” has to be one of the most used songs by people promoting adventure. All you have to say is “Get your motor runnin'” and your mind immediately goes to the open road. “Head out on the highway” – you’re not going to find anything sitting at home. “Lookin’ for adventure” – needing thrills. “And whatever comes our way” – accepting that the future is unknown.
The Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross bikes primary use by their owners are varied. Really varied. I use one of mine for commuting. The other (two) get used as I intended – riding from home to the dirt and riding back. I’ve built up bikes that folks use for gravel grinding, commuting, road riding, single-speed city riding, pannier touring (although, I don’t promote it as a touring machine), and some folks have even raced cross on theirs.
Every aspect of how folks use them incorporates adventure. Simply stepping out the front door with a bike is an adventure. Adventure is what you make of your experience on a bike. My commute from home to the shop is between 2 and 10 miles – depending on what I feel like riding. Every commute is an adventure.
The dictionary defines adventure as either a noun or verb and both definitions involve some element of danger or risk. I’m not so sure about that. Danger and risk do not need to be integral with adventure. I feel every ride I take is an adventure, yet I feel there is no risk or danger involved. Maybe that’s just me. I’ve done a lot of things on a bike and with the exception of riding in Moab (riding across Musselman Arch or riding the Portal Trail), I don’t feel my riding has been terribly risky. Search google for Musselman Arch photos and, yeah, that’s butt-puckering.
Adventure to me means getting to see rad shit. Sunsets, sunrises, Great Blue Herons hunting gophers, elk herds, fog flowing over ridges, baby cows in a pasture, hawks ascending with a varmint in their talons. And all seen from the saddle of a bike.
Why did I write that I don’t promote my monster cross frame as a touring frame, yet I’m writing about adventures that might incorporate touring. Simply put, the frame’s tubing was designed to have a certain, lively, ride quality when unencumbered. If you load it up like you would a traditional touring bike, you’ll notice that it may feel flexy. Noodly. Maybe that’s not bad, but it’s not good when descending some stuff.
But (and according to Pee Wee, everyone has a big but) there’s this thing that folks have been doing that let you tour on almost any bike by carrying a lighter load with bags that don’t attach to racks, but (there it is again) attach directly to the frame. Bike backing is the touring bike’s big butt. And my monster cross frame can work great in bike packing mode. In fact, here’s one that’s ready to go. Born to be wild, you might say.
What it is: this one’s a 60cm frame in British racing green built with SRAM Force 1x levers and Rival derailleur, Rival 1 cranks with 42t ring paired to an 11-42 cassette. Wheels are 105 hubs with WTB Chris Cross I 19 rims and Clement MSO 50 tires – tubeless. Cowchipper bars. What’s something like this go for? As it sits $2420 + shipping and applicable sales tax. Or $2150 without the bags. What are you waiting for? The road (and by road, I include dirt or paved) is waiting. Born to be wild, not mild.
(What’s playing: The Cure Young Americans)