Four weeks ago I headed off from the wintery shores of New Zealand and went back to the motherland. This was to be the first trip back to the UK for me in four years. I had a few things I wanted to do while over here. One was to catch up with mates, the other was to do as much riding as possible; hit up all my old haunts as well as some of the Playstation-style trails at the ever growing number of trail centres.
Unlike Caleb, I don’t really share the passion for bikes with wheels three inches too big. So I felt that this would be an appropriate adventure to take one along with me and prove to myself that they are just as pants as I had already decided.
First stop was the Porte du Soleil in France. I’ve ridden there a tonne of times before, but never on a trail bike, and definitely not on a 29er. I was pretty keen to get buck wild on the 29er, trash some wheels and hence tell everyone that 29ers are rubbish. Well, much to my dismay, after a few days’ hard riding the bike was still in one piece and I was actually loving riding it. Turns out you can still ride steep stuff on the wagon wheels, still rail turns and, in some cases, overtake pyjama clad DHers.
Next stop was Eurobike for a spot of work and to remind everyone that I don’t like 29ers.
After this I met up with some old riding buddies in South England for an epic adventure of trails and ales. Much to my horror a lot of my friends had caught the 29er disease and were rocking them. So for me it was time to shut my mouth and get on with the task at hand—getting some mad flow on the buff trails of South England. By this point I had managed to get a Fox 34 140 mm travel fork up front. Much to my dismay (again) the bike handled even better and I even managed to get a bit of hucking done.
As I boxed the bike up the other night, I was actually upset that I would have to give it back when I got back to New Zealand. I’m still not sure I’ll trade my 26” wheels in just yet, but I do know that I was a little bit hasty in my decision about these wagon wheel bikes, as they ain’t all that bad.