Over the past 3 years, I’ve lacked any desire to pump my hoops over 60 and certainly had no interest in riding tires smaller than 32s. Satisfying road rides required a low pressure, big tire suspension system. And if the adventure included significant asphalt, heavy lifting on big rubber seemed like better training. So when Tonkin informed me that a new skinny wheeled road bike was at the shop for me, I was skeptical of its place in my quiver of bikes.

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But it’s silly to turn down a bike. At least I could try my hand at wrecking it, figuring an appropriate test was pedaling up Mary’s Peak, the tallest point in the coast range. So I pointed it towards dear old Mary–my childhood Mt. Everest–on a sleeveless March afternoon. And everything was glorious, except it felt like the wheels were constructed from a sheet of 3/4″ plywood–not much squish in 25s.

Obviously, the true reason for ascending Mary’s was the 12 mile, 4,000 ft decent. And what’d you know, it was surprisingly less terrifying than a CX bike with worn-out knobbies.

Not being completely disappointed in my new two-wheeled alloy trashcan, I ventured towards another gem of these parts, Alsea Falls–and turned the 2 1/2 hour ride into a 5 hour Bob Ross Bobbling Stream painting.

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South fork of the Alsea was getting me excited about steelhead fishing.

South fork of the Alsea was getting me excited about steelhead fishing.

Passed a flock of elk. Some of them bucks even have horns.

Passed a flock of elk. Some of them bucks even have horns.

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

The effects of low sugar were making me sappy and reminiscent about the farm fields, pastures, and giant red barn. Much of my childhood was spent here lost in my imagination. Barn owners are two folks and their 7 boys, which luckily were my best pals. Together we’d escape to far off places, inventing olympic sports, constructing mansions out of straw bales, and usually ending the day with an epic battle until someone started crying.

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About this time I realized the two granola bars consumed 45 miles ago were insufficient for the “Bob Ross” detour, so I turned down another familiar gravel road to see what scraps were in mom and dad’s pantry.

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Well, now you know. I grew up on a hobbit farm, which explains why I’m a complete idiot on all pop-culture topics and those insignificant terms like “holeshot” and “presta valve”.

Here’s that skinny wheeled trashcan that got me all mushy on today’s adventure. It’s got an all-alloy frame and a half-alloy fork, and it’s under 17lbs. It’s also got my old Dura Ace 10s ‘cross group and fit with missing bits from Tonkin’s pile of parts. I’m able to use my favorite old DA carbon tubulars again, too–without knobbies, of course, but 27s fit no sweat!

-Sean Babcock

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