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Car-less: Humble Bicycle Beginnings

by Kohl Martin

In my haste and excitement of my first post, I neglected to introduce myself. My name is Kohl Martin and I am originally from St. Louis, MO. I have been in Tucson for about 3 years and this is an awesome bike community. I am also a musician. I play saxophone, flute, and I do vocals. I will make shameless a plug for my band: The Rooks. This the first post in a series about what it means and what it takes to go car-less . ( I say “Car-Less” over “Car-free” because I still use cars albeit rarely. I just don’t own one.)

It has been 3 years since I gave up my four-wheeled fossil powered box to enjoy and endure the two-wheeled freedom that I have come to know and love. I did this based on saving money and fitness at first but then began to embrace the bicycling culture.The culture of the two-wheeled stallion is in my blood. When I finally mustered up the courage to rid myself of my beloved Honda CRV, it was bittersweet. I had grown to love that car and the adventures that it had taken me on. Was there a way that I could have most (if not all) of the benefits of an automobile and still save the gas, insurance, and repair money?

At the time, I had a great Rock Lobster road bike. I could get to work almost as fast as driving; literally within about 10 minutes. I was ecstatic because I had reassurance that I made the right choice in getting rid of the car. But there was still something unsatisfactory about the experience. I hated carrying things on my back. I had no way to add a rack to this bike and thus began my journey into figuring out what the ultimate commuter bike would be.

 

Deciding what wheel size is important. 700c was what I had always ridden on the road, but was it the best?

 

At first it was slow because there was so much information I had to take in. Did I want just another road bike with rack mounts? That is what I decided on first, but that was short lived.

I spent day in and day out trying to figure out what I wanted and I bought sold more bikes than I can count. I eventually arrived at the decision that I needed to just find a frame I liked with the tire clearance I wanted and just build something custom.

I stumbled across many forums and discovered that I was not the only one in this situation. There was an entire community of touring and commuting cyclists that were asking the same questions. Everything pointed to 2 types of bikes: Touring and adventure bikes. I had heard of touring bikes as my dad has his old Miyata touring bike that he rode the Blue Ridge Parkway on.

I had decided on something different. I wanted clearance for bigger tires than most traditional touring bikes were offering. I wanted the ability to hit some fire roads or jeep trails if the trip called for it. After 3 years of searching, I settled on one frame: The Origin8 CX700. Or as I affectionately refer to it as the Obliter8. It is everything I could have wanted for a Touring/Adventure bike.

26 inch wheels are a strong and are good for initial accelerations but don’t carry momentum as well as 700c.

 

The lesson I learned here is that trial and error is a completely valid way of making a decision on a bike like this or really any bike. It might still take some tweaking to get everything just right but that is part of the journey and the fun. I turned in a complete bike nerd in the process. I have even inspired my friends (one guy who is and always has been a car guy) to give biking and even commuting a chance. And they all love it!

So all those out there who are just starting up with biking, you are about embark on a wonderful journey and relationship with your bike and like me, it may take awhile to find your prince charming but keep on rolling!

To the tireless, two wheeled, road warrior, masters of the daily commute, ride on and don’t ever forget why you started. Cheers!

This is the current incarnation of my commuter/touring bike. CX700 is on its way!

 

 

 

 
Burley nomad 269

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