From my current vantage point I can’t say if it was a stroke of genius or hubris that saw me call Seven Cycles one day and suggest they should more deliberately market their ability to make travel bikes. Mine is a complicated world with few answers as simple as the love of my sons, so it’s likely that the call contained equal measures genius and hubris. A jerk’s best intentions, or something.
My call was rooted in a awareness that multiple factors I’d been watching were converging. First is the fact that traveling with a standard bicycle has become stupidly expensive. The charges that airlines are imposing vary wildly and due to their inconsistency can seem capricious when the airline employees are polite, punitive when difficult.
However, there’s never been a more interesting time to be a cyclist with a boarding pass. There have never been more reasons to pack a bike up and go someplace else for the weekend. Considering all the gran fondos and gravel events, not to mention plenty of multi-day tours, if you’re not traveling to an event once or twice per year, you’re really missing out.
But $300 one-way to travel with your baby? Yeah, can I get the appetizer of thanks I’ll pass? And if traveling with your bike seems an obscene waste of greenbacks, renting a bike can sometimes run $100/day, so that can also make the quest to ride in a far-flung place utterly futile.
So I told Seven Cycles they ought to build more travel bikes. It’s not a bad idea. The most I’ve ever paid on a major airline to travel with my travel bike has been $25. Good idea or not, they did what any reasonable organization ought to do in that circumstance.
“Can we get back to you?”
The funny thing is, they did. But what they proposed was even crazier than what I came up with. They suggested that they do a special run of their Evergreen model built and spec’d with an eye to the lessons I’ve learned in my travels since I got my Axiom retrofitted with S&S couplers back in 2010.
So yeah, there’s going to be a special RKP-edition of the Seven Cycles Evergreen. That notion is a bit surreal, but it also feels very right. This project was what occasioned my visit to Seven a couple of weeks ago. While there I went for a ride with Neil Doshi, Seven’s chief bike designer and Karl Borne, Seven’s marketing director. This would be the ride Robot was supposed to join but instead he was being evaluated by a hand surgeon. Such delight. You can see Seven’s take on my visit here.
The ride we did was a revelation. Our route started in Watertown at Seven’s headquarters and led us to Ride Studio Café in Arlington over a mix of roads and trails. I rode Rob Vandermark’s personal Evergreen, which was a pretty close fit. It was equipped with a fine complement of parts, some of which made me rethink certain conclusions I’d drawn and rolled on some 40mm Clement tires that seemed as adept on asphalt as they were on pine needles. That ride was first-kiss fun.
The point is to come up with the ultimate travel bike, a solution thought through in such detail that you can ride anything from the Oregon Gran Fondo to Rebecca’s Private Idaho and need little more than a second set of tires in your case.
I’ll be heading back in a few weeks to meet with them again and debut the bike on some rides. Stay tuned.