I was asked to scribble a prayer for the start of the Chromag Bikes 10th anniversary (actually, the 11th) ride, Exile On Steel Street. The loose topic I was given was ‘why’. Here it is.
It’s stiff and it’s harsh, It’s brutal and jarring. Every bump is a thump, and each root is a brut. It’s antiquated and it’s old, relic of a bygone time we’re told. To some you are a Luddite, but your true nature is erudite.
For behind the simplicity, is a cyclist of great authenticity; shins bashed, busted bones, hamstrings taut, elbows scarred. Vision honed, lungs opened, a callused taint, and hands hard.
You’ve climbed many hills and are far from being over your own, for on your bike there’s a list of mountains you’ve flown. You’ve ticked off trails and gone back for more, maps you’ve worn out and many more to explore. You’ve groveled up climbs only to bin it on the steeps, you’ve lived those days when the trail plays for keeps. Months spent laid up in plaster, or wishing that spring would come faster.
You’ve bonked many miles from home, barely able to cherish the loam. You’ve dug deep when in the shit, suffered through when a ride becomes an epic. You’ve made That One Move your bitch, then crashed into That Tree on the next pitch. You’ve mastered the gnarl and the burl, then celebrated with your bros like a chorus girl. You’ve been places that demand a midnight raid, and spent many days slaving away on a spade.
You know why you love it, and there’s no price to which you won’t commit. A life of two-wheels one love, spinning and grinning is the beauty there of. So why after all does a Chromag do it for you?
Some say it’s as dumb as a brick, to ride a bike with tires that thick; something more contemporary would be thrice as quick, all dripping in carbon, kinematics and widgets, now that’s sick! But you’ve been there and done it, busted it up and had to fix it. The brand new hot shit, is just as useful as a pig with a tit, when the bushings and bearings get filled with grit.
So you chose the one that’s simple to clean, be it red, blue, purple, or green. Reliable, honest, steadfast, loyal and true, your Chromag is sure never to fail you. You’ll use less grease, you’ll hear less creeks, and instead be on the trails for many more weeks. It might not be a Trek, all dipping in science, but without NASCAR pap its speed comes with reliance.
So basic the brilliance might allude you at first glance, the double diamond symmetry holds the key to its elegance. Hardened steel, with a ride that gives you feel, compliance and obedience, this is what’s real.
Sure, the first few rides are humbling, two left feet you’ll be fumbling. Your equilibrium will be an enigma, but eventually you’ll feel like a ninja. Hammering up, hacking down, Child like play without a frown. Hard left, hard right, all turns made to feel tight.
Call it whatever: all terrain, all mountain, all seasons, all-weather, all-purpose, all-around, all aboard, all-inclusive, all hell breaks loose, all-star, all manner of brilliance, all of the above. It’s just a bicycle, a damn fine it should be said. But without YOU the pilot it’ll never go out and shred.