This morning, Tom, Moe, Big Hit Bronson Barry, and I sat out from a spot known as “Dog Pen” for a trail ride. Dog Pen is actually the end of Washington Street in Eddyville, the street becomes a trail where a guy keeps a whole mess of dogs in pens, hence the name. It was a bit cold, but riding conditions were perfect. The trail is drier then I’ve seen it since the drought of 2012. It is ground into a fine powder and riding it kicks up epic clouds of dust.
I was the leader of this ride, but only because I know the trails here bit better then the other riders, I did most of my leading from the back. Right from the beginning the other riders lit it up and I was sucking air, no make that dust, about 100 yards behind them.
I opted to ride the Bandersnatch today, it will be the last ride for this faithful steed. It died today. The Bandersnatch is currently equipped with an 8 speed internal geared drivetrain that’s very reliable but kind of heavy. It also seems like the harder you pedal this bike the more energy the hub is stiffening off, it could just be in my head too, because I’m not used to riding this fast.
Moe was the only one who cleaned this tricky bit of trail.
So conditions were celestial, strong sunshine beaming through the trees created spectacular crepuscular rays in all the dust clouds we were kicking up. The trails around Eddyville are some of the most horseback ridden in all of Southern Illinois and with the perfect weather we encountered several equestrian groups, but we were more then happy to yield the trail off our bikes and talk pleasantly as the riders passed. Every group we met was friendly, and passed us without incident. Sharing trails isn’t difficult.
We were all riding well, and the bikes performed great, there were a couple of minor mechanicals, and then my frame snapped. I didn’t realize what I was hearing for about half a mile. Every time I rode over a log or big rock I heard a resounding clunk. The sound of metal slaming against metal.
The Vassago Bandersnatch was my first 29er, and one of my old time favorite bikes. It has been hammered over and over again and performed ride after ride. Last year I noticed cracks forming all around the seatpost cluster and I wrapped the entire area in carbon fiber, hoping to get some more miles out of it. I don’t know if it helped but I’ve got quite a few more rides out of the bike. Replacing the Bandersnatch is going to be hard.
It’s steel tubes offered one last gift and held together for the last 3 miles. Near the end the rear end was beginning to twist with every pedal stroke. It couldn’t have lasted much longer. So fair well old friend, you’ll be missed.