Over the years I have had many attempts to get into riding. I am very good at getting excited about the idea of riding bikes (especially mountain bikes) and buying shiny new bicycles, only to have them sit ideally in the garage. I think the initial shock of using my legs for the first time in a long time puts me off really getting into it. Paddling has always been a lot easier for me to do.
However, I am attempting to get into it again. This time is different because I have an actual reason to get into riding. The first 200km of the Summit to Sea journey is going to require me to ride a bike. Since the top section of the Murray River is a tiny tickle of water in some very remote parts of the high country, the only way I am going to be able to journey anywhere near it is by bike.
About a year ago I sold my (barely ridden) mountain bike to a friend, so the first thing I had to do was buy myself another bike. This bike needed to be a bit different from my previous mountain bike(s). My last mountain bike was fully specced up with all the fancy suspension and gear for more extreme downhill riding (which I never really got into). What I needed this time was something strong, that can handle fire trails and dirt tracks, and one that I can load up with gear for a 4-5 day trip.
I have a couple of friends that are really into multi-day offroad riding and they both independently recommended to me a bike store, Omafiets, in Alexandria (inner Sydney). Omafiets is great and they specialise in these types of off-road touring bikes. So I headed down there last week and got kitted out with a new bike.
After test riding a number of bikes, including both Kona and Surly, I ended up going with the Kona Unit X. I then spent some time with the Omafiets team and my good friend, Duncan, working out what sort of storage, racks and attachements I would need. I also upgraded the tires to be tubeless, so I will have less worries about having to fix punctures in the remote wilderness.
I have now taken the bike out for a couple of long rides on a variety of roads and fire trails in our local area. I have to say I am really happy with the bike. I also have to say that my arse needs some serious toughening up.
Here is a short video of one of the rides on some of our local fire trails.