Building Poli Chapter One: The Multi-Purpose Bike
In an era in which the multi-purpose bike is all but dead, can the multi-purpose bike survive?
"You'll ride much slower on technical trails," they told me.
"You won't be able to pack it properly for multi-day rides," they insisted.
"The bike is neither bird nor fish. Why don't you buy a specialized bike, such as a fatbike for bikepacking, instead?" they inquired.
If necessity is the mother of inventions, stubbornness and spare time are the stepfathers of vanity projects. I have a trail bike - Chiquita. I have a commuter and touring bike wrapped into one - Celia. And I have a bike for winter use - Reina - a necessity in Norway where road authorities try to make commuting as unpleasant as possible by throwing road salt around like it was confetti at a party.
So with my bike needs initially covered, how do I justify a new project? My reasoning have been working overtime to solve one of these great conundrums of life. It's quite a common challenge for those of us with bikes as a hobby.
To counter the fact that I have three bikes, my reason pointed to the arguments that I have had so much trouble with the rear suspension, that it's not ideal to use a full suspension bike for bikepacking and that I have lost strength due to ongoing injuries and consequently I won't compete on Strava any more.
Oh, the mind works in mysterious yet ever so familiar ways. We always manage to rationalize our choices, so I have ended up with a Production Privee GT Shan. Steel, of course, since steel is real. That also means that I revert from hypermodern carbon to reactionary steel. Steel hardtail for trail use and a 140 mm front suspension for bikepacking... Let's first build her.
Will it become my trail rocket? Will it become my touring mule? Will it become my weapon of choice both for Sunday rides and Monday snowstorms? Or will it beat me up in a rock garden to the extent that I throw it in the river?