Way back in 2007 I was a triathlete, century rider and mountain biker who heard about this thing called cyclocross and was intrigued. Cyclocross is the steeplechase of bike racing, with barricades where you dismount and run, steep run-ups where you shoulder your bike, and loose corners, sand pits, and soul-sucking grass to keep you on the ragged edge. And in our local scene, doing all this in costume for bragging rights.
I had both skinny tire and basic dirt skills, I could run (not fast) and loved costumes and the irreverent attitude that comes with it. Races are 30-45 minutes of all-out effort I felt I could manage since the pain may be intense, but it’s mercifully short. So I bought a steel Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike and raced it. It was a blast.
The Poprad was replaced by a lighter steed who stole her drivetrain and her place at the starting line. Retired from racing and outfitted with low gears, she has been reborn as Liberty, the ultimate all-terrain touring machine.
Faster than my mountain bike but hardier than my road bike, Liberty is made for the dirt trails and gravel roads that criss-cross the hills around San Francisco Bay. She’s no stranger to off-road rides and has hauled overnight gear, but I have yet to fully test her strength. Where should we go? How deep into the wild can she take me?
Configuring the gearing on this bike was no easy task since I wanted low mountain bike gears with road levers. So I took it to Charles at Passion Trail Bikes. He and his staff found the right front derailer (Tiagra, no less) that would shift properly for this unconventional setup. Thanks, Charles, for doing what Sheldon said was impossible!