Coming and going and going and coming. I hitched from Denali back to Anchorage to buy a new laptop, a mighty MacBook Air. I spent the week in town outfitting Lael for her European travels and sent her flying over the pole to Frankfurt and London this morning. Accompanying her was a new bike, a sprightly 20 inch wheeled bike–a Cannondale Hooligan 8. The 20 inch wheeled bike in question is not a folding bike, but it is super fun and features disc brakes and huge tire clearances and a 1 x 8 drivetrain. It packs small if properly disassembled and will be able to handle country lanes, canal trails, and some light single track. For the price, it is a fun, practical bike that ensures reliable transport. The plan is to remove the front wheel and the fork, and avoid airline surcharges. It’s not a folding bike, and as a result it sports a rugged, rigid aluminum frame and a steel fork. There are no moving frame parts to be concerned about, such as on a folder. Upscale folding bikes such as those from Bike Friday are rugged, but inexpensive folders won’t stand up to the riding that Lael will be able to do on the Hooligan. Hopefully, as planned, it’s a fun solution for getting around Europe this summer. With Revelate bags and the Inertia Designs frame bag she’ll have an ultralight Continental tourer, ready within a few minutes after deboarding. If you haven’t ridden a bike with small wheels, try it. It’s fun, and it’s not that weird. Mostly, it rides like a bike.
We’d like to fit Schwalbe 20 x 2.15″ Big Apple tires and a handlebar with a mild sweep, such as the On-One Mary that she has enjoyed so much on her Surly LHT. For now, some Ergon grips make things more familiar. I packed the Hooligan into a large cotton drawstring sack sold by an outdoor outfitter, designed to carry moose and elk quarters out of the backcountry. It fit the Hooligan and a light load of camping gear quite nicely, and cost $8.95. Add some duct tape for extra security and some Alaskan flair. Hopefully, the airline believes that it’s a cello or a large backpack or a “mobility aid”.