The year was…I dunno, 2010, 2011? Something like that? I had a popular cycling blog on the Internet and a book on the shelves, and I felt like the cock of the walk. By way of rewarding myself, I decided to order my first-ever custom bicycle–a singlespeed moutain bike from Engin, because if you’re gonna splurge on a bicycle, why do it on one that’s even remotely practical?
As dated and outmoded as that bicycle now is (it’s dainty even by gravel bike standards), I still love it, though The Great Lob On High punished me for my arrogance by making the bike totally un-photographable:
Seriously, it looks great in person, but on “film” it’s merely a void where a bike ought to be:
Engin should license that technology to the Pentagon.
If going from the Eye Of The Tiger Bike to the Jones feels decadent, going from the Jones to the Engin feels like going from those voluminous boxer shorts you kind of have to stuff into your pants to a pair of snug yet comfy boxer briefs that put a little spring in your step and inspire you to occasionally do a little air-hump just because. Not only is the Engin much lighter than the Jones, but it’s also designed specifically for air-humping exactly these sorts of trails, whereas the Jones is more of a supremely capable overlander that basically rolls indiscriminately over everything in its path. (Though I should qualify the “rolls indiscriminately over” characterization by noting the Engin has a much higher bottom bracket, allowing you to ride over rooks and rocks without having to worry so much about bashing your pedals or chainring.)
Prior to heading out, I switched to my “good” wheels, which involved re-aligning my brake calipers since no two disc brake hubs are exactly alike. (Say what you will about rim brakes, but one of the best things about them is that they make wheel changes totally brainless.) I also added sealant to my tires, which I probably hadn’t done in at least a year, and I was surprised to find that the sealant already in there hadn’t yet completely dried out. Over the course of my ride I then stopped periodically to diagnose an irritating cockpit noise, which I eventually eliminated. All of this minutiae ate into my precious riding time, but I daresay the bike is ready for yet another season, diminutive old-fashioned quick-release axles and all.
As for the lack of color, I tried to make up for it with my own flan-tastic wardrobe, captured here by the high-tech drone that accompanies me at all times, and coordinated around my new “Gravel Shorts:”
But more exciting even than my dynamic attire is the fact it looks like my next bike project will arrive on Monday, which has the sparte parts I’ve put aside for it quivering in anticipation.
I’ll keep you posted.