Riding the Broken Road
Rain had stopped play so I suddenly had nothing to do. All of a sudden I had to entertain myself, it was a desperate situation. Fortunately natural instinct kicked in, TMS was put on hold and I pulled on some lycra. It felt good, it had been too long but as good as it felt I couldn’t help think I had forgotten something… it was slowly coming back to me… oh yes I needed a bike. Opening the shed my day took a second blow, 3 bikes and not one in a rideable state, urgh. There was loads I could be doing; update sizing charts, checking Big Shakeout tickets, fiddling around with css stylesheets but it was Sunday, the sun was shining and the saddle was now calling. There was but one solution, sneek into work to steal a ride on the Broken Road.
Don’t be mistaken, that’s not like the GDMBR, the Dirty Kanza 200 or even the Yellow Brick Road for that matter; we are based in Eastwood UK not the States! No, Broken Road is just one bike in our ‘soon to released’ bike range. I had already ridden the Camino for a few days in Italy, but since then I had got lazy, and the closest I had got to the Broken Road was tripping over it on my way to make a brew.
So it is a bikepacking bike, and a pretty nice one at that by all accounts. As I stood in front of it, stretching in my lycra, I gave it a good once over. Titanium, shiny SRAM groupset and big 650b+ tyres, it looked a tidy unit. But I didn’t know where it had been so I did the standard checks… tyres pumped up to 20psi, axles clamped down and the headset tightened…
Rolling out of the car park the first thing I was aware of was the chunky tyre way out in front. The slack headset angle put it out there for all to see. Not quite as chunky as a true Fat Bike, but still chunky enough to feel conspicuous. The bulbous nature of the tyres also suggested that it would be cumbersome to ride, loloping and clumsy, like doing your weekly shop on the back of a Hippo; but appearances can be deceptive.
I was aware that this is supposed to be a bike for travelling, realised to take you over vast distances, self-supported with all your kit. When you are going to be away for days, weeks or even months performance wouldn’t necessarily be the first thing you would expect from such bike.
But I was out for a Sunday ride in Nottinghamshire, I didn’t have a gram of weight on the bike that wasn’t actually part of the bike. Stripped down without luggage this felt like a bike that wasn’t going to be happy simply going from A - B. It wanted to be ridden.
The bike just accelerated and I soon forgot about the oversized proportions of the tyres. It was agile, I just love fully rigid bikes, the riding felt so completely positive; I would be more than happy to take this for a razz around a trail centre and know I would have a lot of fun.
But of course this is designed to be a bikepacking bike, long days in the saddle fully loaded up. I am looking forward to putting that to the test, but for now it is reassuring to know that underneath everything there is a bike that is engineered to be more akin to an Arabian horse rather than a hippo.
Part way through I started to feel a little overstretched, just as I had when I used the Camino in Italy. The top tube is long and although moving the saddle forward helped I would still like to try a smaller frame size.
I had so much fun in my short ride I completely forgot about the sample merino cycling jersey I was wearing. Sorry Nick it is Sunday, can’t do everything!