First the photo, this one worth 2,000 words, we think.
Even without any context, we found ourselves wondering, if you could ride a bike there (where?) why would you ever ride anywhere else? If you’re looking for the spot, it’s at the Ceide Fields a Neolithic field system in Mayo, Ireland.
We met Noel, the rider, through our friends at Cyclefit in London. Noel is an accomplished audax rider from Ireland, and we painted his Axiom SL to match his favorite place to ride, as well as to honor Audax Ireland. The photo was taken during the Connaught 600, a 600k event by the organiser of the Wild Atlantic Way Randonee.
We use the term a lot, and it’s one of those that lends itself to broad interpretation. Everyone reading it will project their own ideas onto it, and that’s a good thing. It suggests that no matter what you want from a new bike, we can deliver it.
The trick is figuring out what performance means for the individual rider before designing and building their bike. If you’re not careful, you can get your head stuck in the bubble of bike industry media, marketing, and hype. In the bubble, everyone just wants to go faster, forever and always. And while it’s probably fair to say that almost no one who turns the pedals wants to go more slowly, that may not be why they’re getting a new bike.
What we hear from our riders runs a wide gamut, from comfort to endurance, from better handling to better features, from the ability to travel to greater versatility on-road and off. One person’s watts are another person’s panniers, or tire clearance, or root level versatility.
The good news for those of us who design bikes is that figuring out what the rider is really looking for, beyond speed, is also the process of designing, that is to say, in asking questions to discover our customer’s priorities, we are also collaborating with them to design their new bike.
Last week a pair of Sevens showed up on Bicycling.com in a piece about the Trans Atlantic Way Race. It’s well worth a read just to find out more about riding along the Irish Coast, but there are also some good tips on riding fast over long distances, as well as some photos of a pair of handsome, purpose-built bikes.Here are some brief excerpts:
The race kicked off at 11:30 a.m. on June 7, 2018. Brad and Matt had 200 miles planned that day, and they expected to be riding until about midnight. Halfway through their first long day, they dined curbside on pizza after the first checkpoint. They ate as much as possible because food options would close well before their planned finish. Being vegetarians, pizza was frequently on the menu.
Along with avoiding the normal hazards of exhaustion, fatigue, and other standard issues with long days in the saddle, the duo had to adjust to riding on the left side of the road.
Read a bit more about our involvement in this epic race.
Here’s a handsome crew. Our friends at Outdoors, Inc in Memphis sponsor a race team called Los Locos (pictured here with some of their Sevens), and this is a shot of them just after the Race Between the Bridges, a local gravel grinder. Seven rider Hart Robinson, second from right, made this year’s race podium. Outdoors, Inc. owners Joe and Carol-Lee Royer are in the middle.
Out of 100+ starters, only approx 38 finished the race due wet conditions with clay mud and gravel.