After two weeks of largely highway driving, this previous weekend I returned to the beguiling dust trails of suburbia:
To city and rural sorts alike these environs could seem tame, however make no mistake–you by no means know if you may need a pulse-pounding wildlife encounter:
I might virtually really feel its scorching breath and scent its flatulence. Or vice-versa.
Sure, I could also be a civilized kind, what with my indoor plumbing and wi-fi Web connection and entry to a number of TV streaming companies, however as quickly as I enter the wild all my senses come alive and I revert to an nearly animal-like state. I’m additionally an knowledgeable tracker. For instance, I do know this was left by a gravelista operating precisely 36psi and a left cleat that must be adjusted inboard by two precisely levels:
Whereas this was left by an grownup male, 6’3″, driving a lightweight blue lady’s Mongoose mountain bike, measurement small, with each entrance and rear v-brakes unhooked:
And I didn’t even must style the dust to determine that out:
Although I admit I did scent it for awhile.
In fact one can not courageous such situations on simply any bicycle. (The man on the Goal bike with the unhooked v-brakes however.) No, to undertake such a journey I need to be capable to belief my bike with nothing lower than my very life. Furthermore, it should be each succesful and cozy, in a position to traverse each pavement and naked earth with equal aplomb, and ideally have a kickstand for once I must cease and go pee. My Platypus is such a bicycle.
Have you ever ever ridden a motorbike and famous the way it evokes your undergraduate days of studying about Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious?
Nevertheless, I do keep in mind Could 2021 prefer it was solely two years and 4 months in the past, and that’s once I first received the ‘Pus. Some bikes spring totally grown from the top of Zeus. For instance, whereas I did briefly Riv-ify it for reasonable thrills, my Jones is just about precisely as I obtained it:
It’s because the Jones is designed round sure elements (the bars, the plus-sized tires), and so there’s actually no level to getting all funky with it. The identical factor kinda goes for highway bikes:
We every have our saddle and pedal preferences, and we might like one barely totally different handlebar bend than one other, however finally a highway bike is a highway bike, they usually’re just about all the identical by way of general setup…properly, largely:
However some bikes can inherently be arrange a number of alternative ways; furthermore, it will possibly take time to determine simply what they need to be. (Or what you need them to be. They don’t need to be something. They’re simply bikes.) The Platypus is like that. Wanting on the body, you possibly can see it as an on a regular basis bike with fenders and baskets for commuting and operating errands, or with fatter tires and baggage for mixed-terrain rambling, and even lean and “imply” (or as imply as a Rivendell might be) as form of a genteel upright speedster. What attracted me to it was the entire “mixte” (or at the very least mixte-adjacent) factor, and my crotch and I had reached the purpose the place I used to be able to discover the thrilling new world of beneficiant prime tube clearance. Moreover, with my children now in a position to trip their very own bikes I not wanted the brute child-hauling functionality of the WorkCycles, which I handed alongside to a good friend–and which, now that I consider it, had taught me to understand the virtues of a step-thru body within the first place:
So the Platypus appeared like one thing that may be good for WorkCycles-type stuff like errands, household picnics, and so forth, but additionally the form of bike I’d truly need to simply trip for a number of hours on my own in a leisure, sporting trend–and as completely phenomenal because the WorkCycles is at what it does, you actually don’t need to simply trip it for a number of hours in a leisure, sporting trend. You actually don’t.
Then there was the truth that my spouse had moved from a WorkCycles to a Clem Smith, Jr. for a similar cause the earlier fall, which made me need a bike like that too:
Past that although I wasn’t certain precisely how one can set it up past a imprecise notion that it ought to be capable to carry stuff whereas additionally being enjoyable, and whereas I did order some key elements together with it I additionally form of let it evolve and crammed within the blanks with stuff from my huge shops of mediocre elements:
Right here’s the way it regarded when it first got here collectively:
Some bikes trip simply the best way they give the impression of being, and whereas the Platypus is definitely snug, I rapidly discovered it’s additionally vigorous in a manner you won’t count on from the upright place in addition to all these lugs and tubes. I knew I wished a basket on it, and after driving it “bare” for a bit simply to get to realize it I put in one:
Nevertheless, owing to that sudden liveiliness, for awhile I had the notion that aside from the basket I’d hold it form of minimal. That didn’t final:
The entire level of a cushty bike is that they’re, properly, snug. You’ll be able to’t get snug for those who can’t chill out. And you may’t chill out for those who don’t have every part you want on you always–instruments, tubes, patches, that form of factor–and so I added the voluminous saddle bag, which I’d beforehand been utilizing on the Homer. Equally, I additionally discovered I might chill out extra on trails with extra tire quantity, and it turned out I might match a set of ’29er tires in there no drawback. In flip, I additionally discovered that, whereas it’s on no account a mountain bike, it’s additionally keen to go deeper into the woods than you would possibly suppose. Switching the bar-end shifters for thumbies, placing on bigger pedals, and including a second set of grips for cranking up steep rises additional enhanced its all-terrain rideability:
Round this time I additionally lowered the bars from the Rivendell-approved “lofty” place you see in all of the above images to a positively reckless “roughly degree with the saddle.” As a result of I wish to stay dangerously.
A nicer rack for the voluminous saddle bag adopted:
As did a interval throughout which I switched the Tosco bar for a Choco, which felt nice on the highway:
Although I finally went again to the Tosco, and general I feel it’s a greater match for the bike–or at the very least how I trip it.
So whereas I’ve beloved the Platypus from the start, it occurred to me this weekend that I’ve lastly received the bike precisely how I would like it:
Now all I’ve to do is keep in mind to cease fucking with it.