I am a cyclist. I have been cycling on my mountainbike and roadbike since 1998 when I cycled across the UK just to “see if I enjoyed it”. (I must have done – the next trip was across the Alps.)
Jon’s Adventures is a bike shop in Nesselwang in the Bavarian Alps. Jon is a qualified ski instructor and the business started offering guided bike tours in summer. Nowadays he concentrates on selling, building and modifying bikes to exactly fit his customers needs.
I bought a bright orange “Frenchie” bike as soon as Jon started building and selling them and used it non-stop, even taking it to China for six weeks. Most of the parts have been replaced as I wore them out but at least it still had the original frame.
And now I am off sailing and have to accept that, even with both wheels removed, a mountain bike just isn’t designed to fit on a boat. It was looking like I was going to be riding one of those funny little fold up things with tiny wheels and a strange looking frame. I just couldn’t see myself riding up and down mountains on such a bike but what are the alternatives?
It turns out that there is a solution that offers a no compromise mountain bike but which will also fit onboard. The answer is the Montague Paratrooper. This full size, foldable bike was designed for paratroopers and can be thrown out of planes and then ridden by a fully loaded soldier. It sounded like what I had been looking for.
I weigh about 90kg and I enjoy cycling downhill. While I am definitely not a “hard downhiller” I prefer to ride steps than walk them and am happy to try and hop over obstacles rather than dismount. I don’t think I am going to be pushing the bike as hard as a fully loaded paratrooper but it is nice feeling to know that the bike can “take it”.
But I didn’t need a bike. I had a bike. I just needed a new frame for my existing bike. My luck was holding though and Montague were selling the frames but only to addresses in the US and only with a payment from the US. Luckily I knew a firm in the US who bought it and then exported it to my firm in Germany and thus it landed at Jon’s bike shop.
After that we “only” had to change the parts between the two frames. “We” is actually a bit of a misnomer. Jon did all the work changing the parts over and using new components when the old ones wouldn’t fit or were worn. My job was just to set up the gears as this is a black art I had long wanted to understand. I had originally planned on changing to 27″ wheels but had forgotten that I have extra large tyres. The existing 26″ only just fit with these tyres.
Obviously this bike is going to be more fun that a tiny foldable bike for use across the harbour and should let me range much further. However I believe the real advantage of this bike is that, apart from the frame it is just “another MTB”. All the parts are standard and both components and know-how should be available wherever I take it. This will hopefully make keeping it on (or off) road so much easier.
And now I am dreaming of sailing to far off islands, folding my bike out, clipping the wheels in, and exploring.