By Jeffrey Stern
It goes without saying, but sometimes it still needs to be said: we’re lucky. Much of the United States offers an undeniably unique opportunity for people of all types, abilities and with varied interests to get outside and play outdoors. Whether it be aboard a bike, on foot, hanging from a rope on a rock wall, floating down a river, gliding down a wave or any other numerous adventurous activities our country is filled with endless options to pursue on a daily basis, no matter which region you reside in.
Is there any downside to living so close to such an incredible overabundance of outdoor activities? Particularly, I would argue, aboard the dozen of bike options available to us from road, touring, mountain (with its own subsets of downhill, cross-country, etc.), gravel, tandem, unicycle and more. When planning a bike related adventure, it’s absolutely insane the choices of places you can go, things you can see and ways in which you can enjoy the time spent. With life’s commitments including family, career and other responsibilities, how does one find the time to take complete (or even a sliver) of advantage of all this outdoor opportunity at their fingertips?
What’s become clear is that we’ve now seen the adventure lifestyle go completely mainstream with Generation Y. Originally the practice of only a few diehard vagabond adrenaline junkies, the van life, adventure enthusiasts living day-to-day, reevaluating their life priorities and pursuing what they want to do and just doing it is growing by the hour. Prioritizing experiences, simplicity and outdoor adventure over material things is trending upward.
No ifs, ands or buts. Live in the moment. Carpe diem, they say.
As irresponsible as it may sound to say aloud, it speaks more to a pure dedication of passion than some may think. In a world where too many accept the status quo and go through the motions, even when they don’t want to, this pursuit of the adventure lifestyle is a breath of fresh air.
Is it so eccentric to believe that the outdoor adventure lifestyle can also represent a career opportunity as well? With simplicity comes ingenuity and we see products, brands and ideas being born out of necessity. Less is more, so let’s make the less better; multi-dimensional, bomb-proof, something to last a lifetime and then another one.
We all know the power that a good ride can have on your mental state. It’s refreshing, can hit the reset button on a bad day and change your outlook on things to come. It often provides the creative spark necessary to solve a problem. Taking this to the next level and making this is your life is only natural. Happiness breeds creativity and is also contagious. When you see some smile, do you get upset and frown? No way! That would be unnatural.
In a world that can feel so rigid and constricting, adventure, and the endless quest for it just makes sense; no matter your platform, location or passion. Everyone wants to be happy, so there’s no reason to hold back. Go out there and get after it. You can be a better version of yourself and in the process, make the world a better place to live.
By Jeffrey Stern
Walking into my bike shed is overwhelming at the moment. There are frames hanging from the ceiling, wheels leaning against every wall, parts and pieces all over the workbench and the bike I want to ride is always cornered by the ones that I just snapped a cable on, or even worse, are unrideable themselves.
My organization is pitiful right now. Truthfully, it always is.
I’d much rather spend time riding than tinkering and I think that’s why I have so many bikes in the first place. The novelty of a new (or used, but new to me) bike is hard to turn down. There’s always something different about my last acquired two-wheeled machine and I have trouble saying no. As they say, I’m a bike aficionado, and a collector of bike stuff at heart. Getting rid of things is hard, especially when it comes to my modes of transport.
“One day I’ll need this!” I say to myself quite often, while tucking whatever “this” may be into a drawer or corner, unlikely to ever been seen or used. But time and time again, I justify keeping all this stuff.
But what if I got rid of it all and started fresh, with just one bike. Could I do it? How would I decided which bike to keep?
Realistically, my bike shed would have to burn down or somehow disappear into thin air for that to happen, but hypothetically, the thought is very attractive. So much so that the idea of the one-bike stable crosses my mind nearly every day.
I like roads and I like dirt. I like fat tires and skinny tires, slick and big old knobby treads. I truly enjoy the differences and various nuances of them all.
So where would I start? The type of brakes employed seems to be the big question these days and with the proliferation of disc brakes, I’d have to go that route. A frame with ample clearance for my knobs, but plenty of stopping power for high-speed tarmac descents sounds like the perfect combination for my tastes. Ok, so we’re probably talking about multiple wheelsets and only one frame, but I’m fine with that compromise.
Drop bars or flat? This is a tough one. From a pure comfort factor, I think I’d go flat. Plus, it just looks funky and cool and that’s what I’m all about. I’d have way more style riding a slick-tired road-esque cruiser with a set of flat bars. I’d like to believe all the heads would turn, the questions would never stop and I’d grin from ear-to-ear each time.
And what about suspension? My good friend Greg who helped me build my first mountain bike back in the day as teenager said to me once when I asked how in the world he rode down technical mountain singletrack on a fully rigid bike, “I’ve got all the suspension I need right here!” as he pointed to his long, chiseled arms. To this day, it makes me smile every time I think about that moment. He’s right, we live in world with too much support and comfort. I’m not a downhiller by any means, and realistically doing a DH course on the one bike in my hypothetical stable is unrealistic and bit beyond the realm of my idea. Full rigid it is.
Material? Steel. Or if I have the dough, titanium. Hands down. The goal is to have this thing outlive me. I want my kids (if I ever have any) and their kids (getting ahead of myself) to be able to ride this thing. They might not think it’s cool and who knows, bikes might be a thing of the past by then, but hey, that’s not the point!
I don’t know the brand of bike I’d choose, but the thought of it is nice. One day, I might just pull the trigger and make it happen. I could probably come away with some extra dough, a whole lot more space (which my girlfriend would love) and one bike that I’d be forced to take extra special care of. Now isn’t that a novel idea?
If you had to pick just one bike to own, what would it be? Tell us in the comments!