Many of you may have read my blog post back in May (“I’ve Lost My Mojo!”) in which I explained how I had lost the thrill of riding hard and racing harder. After a summer of VERY little bike riding and a LOT of beer drinking, I’m starting to change my tune. I’m heavier than I ever was, a good 30 lbs more than my racing weight of a couple years back. So this “I’ll ride when I feel like it and enjoy life” thing just ain’t working out. I don’t like what I see in the mirror, and I miss being fit. And it goes without saying that I’m not getting any younger. But how do I re-ignite the spark that was lost? Well, I think I’ve found the answer: I NEED A NEW BIKE!
But not just any bike. I want this to be a SPECIAL bike. Don’t get me wrong, all bikes are special in their own way, and I’ve owned and ridden a lot of them. But none of them were designed and built specifically for ME. It’s time to change that. And who better to help accomplish this than Seven Cycles out of Watertown, MA? They’ve been building dreams for cyclists since 1997. So what’s MY dream? If I was given the option of having just ONE MORE RIDE, what would that be? As I’ve grown older (and slower), I’ve been gravitating towards the gravel events. I’ve done Battenkill, Barry-Roubaix and our local legend, the Cheesehead Roubaix. And if I’m lucky enough to be in the north woods, nothing makes me happier than finding a quiet, tree-lined gravel road to bomb down. So there, it’s decided. I want Seven to help me build the gravel grinder of my dreams. Now what?
Seven recently introduced the Evergreen series “drop-bar adventure bikes.” Over the years they had modified other models to meet this niche. But with the recent explosion in gravel events and riding, the decision was made to develop this dedicated line. But which version? The Evergreen Pro has carbon tubing with titanium lugs. The Evergreen has a beautiful steel frame, like Nick’s Mudhoney that you may have seen in the shop. But let’s face it, Seven is known for titanium. And we all want to own a titanium bike before we check out, right? So titanium it is. Not so fast, there are 3 versions of the titanium frame. The “S” is made from straight-gauge titanium tubes, the “SL” from double butted tubing, while the “SLX” is ultrabutted for maximum weight savings, compliance (and price). Since this is a once-in-a-lifetime (maybe) purchase, the choice is between the SL or SLX. This is where I’ll ask for guidance on the pros & cons of each, both from Nick at Belgianwerkx and John Lewis, our sales rep at Seven. Another factor is how I’ll be riding this bike in 10 years. I doubt that I’ll be ripping it up on the gravel racing scene, more like soft-pedaling to the bocci ball court somewhere in Central Florida. So at some point, this bike will need to morph into more of a commuter ride, much like the Expat SL. So fender & rack eyelets should be considered, among other things.
But this process is step by step. Step #1 is filling out Seven’s Custom Kit form. This is a very detailed document, covering EVERYTHING needed to build the bike of your dreams. I’ll really need to concentrate on getting a proper fit analysis with Nick on the Retul Muve bike. I’ve never been too picky about fit, just throw the leg over and go. But it’s time to listen to my body and nail the fit. And that’s the beauty of the Retul system, we can make small adjustments on the fly, until it feels JUST RIGHT.
For better or worse, I’m going to be sharing the details of this process with whomever cares to follow. There will be additional blogs, Facebook posts, photos and videos throughout. A visit to the Seven factory in Watertown, MA may be forthcoming. I’ll probably ask you all for suggestions and opinions on component choices, paint schemes, etc. Please give me feedback. In the end, the decision is mine, but there’s a wealth of real-world experience out there. Doesn’t hurt to tap it.
Finally, other than the bike being delivered (and ridden), I need another carrot dangled. Something to light a competitive fire under me. So I’ve decided to schedule an EPIC gravel ride of some sort for next year. This will not only be a fun way to test the new bike, but it would also be great incentive to train and test myself. Whaddya’ think? Dirty Kanza in May? Stay tuned…..