Ed Oxley is saving his best bike for the worst weather this winter – and he’s not sorry
I will not be building a winter bike because it just seems like a stupid idea.
I might build a new single speed – not because I want to avoid wearing out my drivetrain, but because I want a bike that is hard to ride and will make me strong like a mighty ox. Why would I want to ride a second-best bike when the trails are so full of filthy fun?
That would be an insult to the glorious opportunities of the wet, the slimy, the mulch and the mud. I want a bike that is built for slithering and is fit to grind in the grit. I want tyres that are at home in the swamp. I don’t mind if they don’t last all that long, or if they suck in the dry, as long as they grip and egg me on to hold my line and be brave. I live in England in the Glorious North, so there’s not much point in mountain biking if I’m not going to learn to love the foul and the furious.
The trails were muddy and wet and because the bike was so good and I was so excited, I pushed too hard and crashed. It was a pleasure trying to find what the bike was capable of and how my skills matched up to what was on offer. It was a thrill to be out there riding the best, in the conditions that tested it and me the most. I thought about all the posh bikes tucked up in heated garages, preserving their resale value, their seals slowly drying out and the riders riding the internet and waiting for the right time.
I thought about it and I rode some more.